CwL Ep44: Lessons From Feeling Unsupported

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What do you need to ask for… and let go of…

So many women often fall into the space of feeling a general lack of support. But this story is not one that you need to have. Support is all around you – IF you open up to it. It begins with you really getting clear on what that means to you.

So what is this episode REALLY about:

  • Why supporting yourself and opening yourself up to receive support goes hand in hand
  • The importance of asking yourself ‘What do I need today to feel okay? (plus a few other bigger questions to sink into!)
  • What can happen when you look at things through a different lens
  • Letting go of the story that you’re ‘self-sufficient’ and independent – hint: you do need people around you!

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Prefer to read? Click here for the transcript

Hi there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. Today, we are going to be talking about something that comes up all the time in my coaching calls inside Ready For Change and then Live The Change, which is a six-month experience beyond RFC, where women dive deep into loads of things in an effort to really come home to themselves. And it’s fascinating that this topic comes up a lot. I know this topic intimately. I don’t know about you, but I wonder if you have often felt unsupported. ‘Oh, my gosh, there’s no one supporting me. I’m there for everybody else, and I’ve got no support. I get no support from him. I get no support from them…’ blah, blah, blah.

I know this feeling. I had all of my children away from my family, interstate, so I didn’t have grandparents popping in and helping out or aunties and uncles and all those sorts of things. I sort of ended up wearing it like a badge of honour, which I don’t think ended up serving me either, of being so self-sufficient, and I’m still trying to peel back the layers of that so I can actually allow more support back in. But it just raises this question that I want to explore with you today and share some lessons from feeling unsupported.

Obviously, for me, it really came home when I started my solo parenting journey, which I’ve been living for over two years now. I have some beautiful support structures in my life, but I very, very much remember feeling, especially when Nick passed away, like oh, my goodness, there’s no one else. We can create this for ourselves by thinking that, or… I chose a different story that support comes in all shapes and sizes, that support is available to me, but it took me a long time to get there, and I can still definitely fall into the space of just feeling unsupported.

So, let’s break this down. I want us to first start with how easy we find it to be supportive to those around us like it’s our role, like it’s our thing to do is to be the support person. A lot of women that come through my programmes, their value is born from how good they are, how supportive they are to people around them. They find it easy. It’s the easiest thing to do to drop everything and be there for somebody else. Oftentimes, they can be feeling quite hard on themselves. They judge themselves when they’re like, “I could have been more supportive. I could have been there for them more. I should have done more.”

It’s actually something that we think about a lot is how we’re showing up for the people around us. Maybe you might start to get where I’m going here, but how often have you said to someone, “Really lean on me. I’m here for you. I want to support you”? Those words come out of our mouths, and it feels easy because it’s the framework that we’ve been brought up amongst. I mean, isn’t that what we do as women, as a nurturer, as someone who is a good friend, a good daughter, a good all the things? Just lean on me. I’m here for you. I’ve got you. How nice is it to be able to offer someone that beautiful support?

So, I mean, just two things with that is, if you’ve said those words, if you’ve been in that place, which I think we all have, I think a lot of us find ourselves giving that support, perhaps giving it over and then not having any boundaries around it. So, just a little reminder that it’s okay to be able to say I’m here for this person, but I’m not going to bend over for this. I also have to maintain certain hings for myself. So, just a little reminder on that. That’s a bigger podcast episode, but the bigger thing is, about all this, is that we never have those conversations with ourselves. We don’t use the same language for ourselves. “Lisa, I’ve got you. I’m here for you. I will support you. We need to look at what support you need, what you need. Let’s do this. My job is to be here for you in this.” This is how I literally start to talk to myself. It’s why I ask myself all the time, and I’ve said this over and over again, “What do you need today to feel okay, Lisa?”

When I found myself on the back end of a really, really tough time with a husband not able to be here and needing to manage the children, run a business, maintain a household, all of that stuff, I mean, it was a mess. I was a mess, but I was my biggest support right then and not in the way that I’m an island and I have to do this on my own, in the way that I was asking myself questions about what I needed to be okay. So, I have hired cleaners to come in once a week. I then realised that I needed even more support than that in the house. The beautiful angel that is my housekeeper came in three hours a week to help me do the tidy-up before the cleaners. On a really practical level, I was looking at ways I could support myself.

You need more rest than you’ve ever had in your entire life, Lisa. You are tired. Okay. How can I get that? I can’t just check out. That’s not an option right now though I felt like running to the hills. Still bloody do a lot of the time, but I had to start training myself to see that I was a part of this support package for myself, that I needed to offer myself the compassion, the grace, sometimes these outside-the-box solutions, sometimes the comfort that I was wanting from other people. So, here, let me share with you the question that I asked in our coaching call in Live The Change, and just lead you into a few questions that you can ask yourself because this story of being unsupported, it’s not one that we need to have.

I know what it feels like to go solo. I know what it feels like to have things ripped out from beneath us. I also know peeling back the self-sufficient, “I’ve got this. I keep going. I’ve got it all together. I can manage this,” it’s not about that. It’s not about not needing anyone. You do need people. You do need support. None of us … I mean, I think we’re all siloed away in our own little households, expected to hold it all together. We weren’t designed to be like that. Anyone want to just go and pitch some yurts and live in a nice little village together? It comes up all the time, that idea for good reason.

Anyway, so here is the question that I really want you to sink into that really helped me. It was a big lesson. Have a think about what it would look like for you to feel fully supported. Get a picture in your mind, what would it actually feel like to be fully supported? Now, I want you to think about what you might be waiting for to feel supported. You can write a list. This is what I need. This is what I’m waiting for. If any of those things are beyond your control, start crossing them out because you wait forever. Those things might end up happening, but there’s things that you can do right now.

So many women in my programmes, “Well, if only he did this, this, this, and this, I’d feel supported,” or, “I can’t because blah, blah, blah,” like not being able to look outside and see where there might be choice. So, I really want you to think. You can keep yourself in a perpetual state of resentment and waiting when what you need to feel supported is coming from something you can’t control. I want you to ask yourself, if I was looking at myself from the outside, if I was one of my friends, what would I be like? “She needs a this, a this, a this, a this.” It’s so easy to see what other people need and so much harder to see it for ourselves. What might you offer in terms of support to that friend who’s going through what you’re going through? That’ll give you some really clear signs of how you can help yourself and what you can ask others for?

Most of us are really terrible at asking for help. I mean, I still listen to that song. (singing) I just think, where is that person? I need the person who’s coming as fast as I can. I’m drowning here. Like all the things, I had to look at what I needed to be responsible for in terms of also creating a lifestyle that I needed to be saved from. I mean, that’s a whole other part of this, right? What might it look like for you to support yourself?

You coming at this as well rested as you could be, what might you need to let go of if you were really being honest with yourself? Do you need support because life has become way too overwhelming because of too many balls that you’re trying to juggle at one time? What can you drop for a little while and bounce away quietly, ready for you to pick it up at another time? Do you need to let go of the story that you’re self-sufficient and you don’t need anyone or that you should be able to manage this? What you’re struggling with is valid. If you’re feeling unsupported, you’re feeling unsupported.

What do you need to ask for? What do you need to let go of? What stories are you telling yourself about what getting support might mean? I mean because we make stuff mean things all the time, right? We’re just making up meaning. For me, it would be like I’ve failed because I can’t do this. I should be able to do this. What’s wrong with me? Everyone’s going to know I’m not okay. Oh, that was my worst. I don’t want them to think that. I don’t want anyone to worry about me. It was this real … I am the one who holds it together. It’s my identity to be that until suddenly, I really couldn’t, and I really had to notice where I had shielded myself, where I had closed off opportunities to be supported.

I had to be responsible for supporting myself, which meant opening myself up to receive support too. Can you see how it goes hand in hand, how it’s not about waiting for everybody else? It’s about us looking at ourselves and what we’ve set up, the patterns we’ve created, the stories we tell ourselves that we need to be responsible for dismantling and choosing a new story.

Support is all around is one of my stories now. Support arrives in endless supply because when that’s my story, I’m looking around and suddenly, I’m looking through a different lens. I’m looking at it like, wow. I mean, if I just asked her, I know she would do that for me. I mean, wow, that’s amazing, or my kids aren’t as helpless as maybe I make them out to be. We’re having a new conversation here about expectations and contribution in the household. They’ve reached a new level of maturity. Now, the expectations change.

We just open it up, but when we’re closed off and when the story is no support, no support, no support, well, why would it show up? Why would you be able to see it? It’s been a huge lesson for me to change my language around this and look at the stories, once again, that I’m telling myself about what it might mean to be supported. Most importantly, I’ve changed my relationship with myself around support. I support myself first. When that works, everything else works. When you’re solo parenting, you have no choice but to take care of yourself hardcore because I’m not used to anyone if I’m not thriving.

So, I invite you into some of these bigger questions. The big lessons that I’ve learned have been changing the relationship with myself, asking myself, what would it look like? What would it feel like for me to be supported right now? Really get clear with what that means instead of staying in the zone of telling yourself the same thing over and over. What am I not prepared to keep waiting for that I need to start giving myself or getting creative around? What do I need to let go of here? What might I need to ask for?

Few little lessons from feeling unsupported, and if that resonates with you, let me know, and be sure to share these podcast episodes. If you get a little nugget of something, then maybe there’s someone else in your world who might too. We’re all going through the same things, most of us anyway, and I am here for you. Hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Lisa

"I’m here to help you break free from the stories holding you back, and create change that sticks"

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