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2014-07-22

Recognize it. Accept it. Find it.

How’ve you been doing in recognizing and accepting the support you already have in your life?

Not so great? Not to worry. This week I will pick up where we left off and go into a bit more detail on each of the main types of support available.

1087378_14693479This is a big deal because recognizing and identifying existing support is crucial to an effective recovery from burnout.

But first, a refresher!

When most people think of ‘support’ we think of social support, or the perception (and reality) that one is cared for, part of a supportive social network and has assistance available from other people.

But there are many different types of support out there, each with its unique barriers for those of us who are Type A, Highly Sensitive People (HSP.) And folks like us are prone to Identity Gap and Burnout.

So let’s talk support. As we went over last time, there are four main types of support.

  • Emotional
  • Tangible
  • Informational
  • Companionship

The first type (on the list, not in any order of importance) is emotional support. Included in this area:

  • Empathy
  • Concern
  • Love
  • Trust
  • Affection
  • Acceptance
  • Encouragement
  • Caring

This is the one that is hardest to receive. I know, I know. You’ve got this. You can handle it, take care of it, get the job done. By yourself.

I know because I’ve been there.

And I’m here to tell you that there is no weakness in accepting support.  In fact, it is a powerful show of strength.  The big takeaway: realize that you are receiving this type of support. It’s easy to notice (and accept) when a loved one reaches out with an encouraging word, but how about when it’s someone not close to you offering this type of support? Say, a sales clerk taking an extra moment to empathize with you when your bill was higher than expected.

Recognize it, receive it. And if you did the support inventory I included in my last newsletter, go back and see if there’s a few types of support you can add to the list.

Speaking of that bill that was higher than expected, let’s go on to the second support type: tangible support. This includes:

  • Financial assistance
  • Material goods
  • Services

The roadblock with this one is a bit different than with emotional support. This one is fairly easy to recognize – we know when we get it. But with burnout, perceptions change and it can be hard to appreciate what we have. With this support we notice most what we don’t have. But take the time to recognize (and focus) on what’s there rather than what isn’t.

When we’re lacking in support, many of us head for the third support type: informational. This includes:

  • Advice
  • Guidance
  • Suggestions or useful information

This is what we’re looking for when we “Google It” and as you know, the quality of the information can vary wildly depending on the source. The old ‘YMMV’ (your mileage may vary.)

Informational support can be really hard for someone in burnout to sift through. Between advice from well-meaning people to internet searches… well, there’s a lot to process. It’s hard because of starting out tired with brain fog and the tendency to grasp at straws when stressed. This is an area where it’s very helpful for an individual in burnout to reach out and get help.

Of course, if you’re lucky, you already have some help from the fourth support type: companionship. This includes anything that gives one a sense of social belonging, including:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Organizations
  • Pets

Some of these areas are often overlooked and underutilized. How many friends have asked if they could do anything to help? Take them up on it, even if the help is “just” having lunch with you. While friends and family may not have the specific tools to help you in your recovery, they will support you as a person, which is foundational to your recovery.

So head back to your support inventory and take a look again to identify where you have support and where you have gaps. Be willing to identify and utilize what you have. When working through this process, it’s helpful to physically list out the support you have. Not only will this make it more ‘real’ and ‘concrete’ for you, but putting together the list will help you think of ways to ask for more support from those around you to fill in those gaps.

 

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