True Mutual Support
We don't heal in isolation, but in community.
A sincere promise, coupled with a helping hand, can bring hope
where before there had been only despair.
I don't know anyone who isn't experiencing a lot of challenging self-upheaval
right now. Whether it is conscious or not is perhaps another story, but there
a definite shift happening that is forcing us to go within and learn to face
our deepest fears, let go of our oldest patterns, and heal. With so many of us
this space of reflection and degrees of personal crisis,
how can we best support each other ?
I was amazed how hard it was to find a definition or a quote about "mutual support". Everything was coming up about business models, or using the word enemy in the dialogue, and I thought, how strange this is not clearly defined ! we must all have some idea of what that means to us ? perhaps we are all idealizing it or fantasizing about what a truly mutual relationship would even look like.
I talk about this theme often of finding the boundaries between helping and rescuing, finding what is actually effective vs co-dependency.
This time I wanted to share a list I came across while going through old papers and photos. It brought me back to a grounded, sacred mental space about what giving mutual support actually means. There is a little tough love in here so don't be alarmed - many times what we call support is actually just enabling someone, pandering to their ego, or avoiding conflict. Since we are in the sign of Libra ( who hates conflict and will sacrifice herself not to have any) I thought it was a great time for this list:)
Guidelines of Giving Mutual Support
I will not help you stay and wallow in limbo
I will help you to grow, to become more productive, by your definitions.
I will help you become more autonomous, more loving of yourself, more excited, less sensitive, more free to continue becoming the authority for your own living.
I cannot give you dreams, or fix you , simply because I cannot.
I cannot give you growth, or grow for you. You must grow for yourself, by facing reality, grim as it may be at times.
I cannot take away your loneliness or pain.
I cannot sense your world for you, evaluate your goals for you, or tell you what is best for you in your world, for you have your own world.
I cannot convince you of the crucial choice of facing the scary uncertainty of growing vs the safe misery of not growing.
When I begin to care for you out of pity, when I lose trust in you, then I am toxic and inhibiting for you and for me.
You must know that my helping is conditional; I will be with you, I will hang in there with you as long as I continue to get the slightest hints that you are taking action to heal.
What this list describes so well is a stance - both in actions, mentally and emotionally to take when helping someone through a rough time. I love that it makes no assumptions that we are doing anything more than being there,
encouraging positive actions as defined by that person's goals and reality.
This is the piece we most often miss. Most of us project what we think will help, or change the person's life for the better. But how can we know ? The soul is intricate. The longings that crave expression may be something very unusual, unconventional, socially unpopular, challenge the values of the family of origin etc. I am a firm believer that we all have something inside that is desperate to find expression, and until it does it will push on your soul and create distortions in your life.
One of the hardest things in life can be answering : What do I want ?
So many people freeze on this when you probe deeper. So one of the dangers when supporting someone who cannot define what they want yet is to let them have space to genuinely explore it without our great ideas ( and of course so many of those will actually be great). We can't rob ourselves and others of their process, or they arrive down the road later at the same damn place as before...but with more regret the next time. It's more helpful int eh long term to listen and hold space for someone to birth themselves - as frustrating as it can be for the listener sometimes.
I also found number 9 very helpful in my own journey.
Pity is toxic.
We have to be very
honest with ourselves when we help as to our true feeling and vision of that person.
If you see someone as helpless - you aren't helping them no matter how perky positive you may sound in your words. If you believe someone won't find happiness, or love or success due to a trait or circumstance you find limiting to them - be very careful. Some things in life will change with motivation and support, others things are our cross to bear in this life time that we
must accept. having someone go against the acceptance of that type of issue is very destructive to us.
People sense insincerity. No one wants to feel patronized, or to have a fake cheer leader either. So if you are drawn to helping and supporting someone it's time to ask yourself you own motivation for doing it. If you can maintain a genuine belief in and like the person; if you know in your gut they can turn their lives around and you are willing to watch them ride the roller coaster; if you make no promises to take away their pain - you are safe to be that wonderful pillow we all need in times of distress :)
We have to be able to do this without hurting ourselves.
If we are the one needing support we deserve this from the ones we receive from as well.
You deserve a patient ear, a consistent friend, true understanding and empathy, and a cocoon to emerge from. We are in such times my friends. Find your true supporters, even if it's you and your own higher power or Nature. Soon we will all emerge as butterflies.