Support Groups-help or hinder growth?
Many who have been diagnosed with diseases or addictions have found that joining a support group helps to come to grips with their “new normal.” Being in a community of like-minded people can help you manage the wide range of feelings and fears you may be experiencing.
While the members may not know exactly how you feel, they have had similar situations and can give encouragement. You may also find the networking to be very beneficial because someone in the group can connect you with the latest or most beneficial treatment.
Support groups also help family members and friends handle the countless emotions that will come up on a wellness journey. This is a safe place to discuss deep emotions and ask questions of those who have traveled the road and can give direction and guidance.
Early research suggested support groups could help people with cancer live longer. However, more recent studies have not supported this finding. Even so, the emotional benefits these groups can provide are significant.
Sympathy- No Thanks
Everyone has problems. Everyone has suffered some kind of loss. Pain in life is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. When discussing problems, find someone who can help you move through them and find solutions. Do not be tempted to wallow in the “why me” and rehash the diagnosis over and over.
The diagnosis happened to you, but it is not you. You are a strong, smart cookie who is resilient and a
Well meaning friends may want you to discuss, rehash and give them minute by minute updates. Resist the temptation. They may unconsciously do this not out of empathy, but out of a need to play “Oh, I know just how you feel. Let me tell you what happened to me that is worse. That will make you feel better.” It is too easy to be stuck in an unhappy place and not feel the body and spirit’s natural inclination to move forward. Please understand I am not saying for you not to seek support in times of stress and sorrow, but be careful.
Be a Bounce-Back Person
Remember, some people love to be needed and it is in their best interest to keep you in a down position. You may be down temporarily but you are not out. You know how to put down your right foot, breathe deep, put down your left foot, breathe deep, and then just keep going.
You can climb out of any situation, no matter how deep the wound. Too many people identify themselves by their wounds. In order to be empowered, we must live beyond the wounds we have received in life and the wounds we have given, either on purpose or accidentally.
Transformation comes when you recognize and embrace that you are more than what you have done or what has happened to you. The real and authentic you who is whole uses those wounds as learning experiences. Leonard Cohen once said “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.”
- Have you ever had someone offer sympathy and then proceed to tell you how much worse their own situation is?
- Is there a support group, either in person or online, that could connect you with those who could encourage and enhance your journey?
- Are you involved in a support group that is not moving you forward, but keeping members stuck in the disease? Can you find the courage to find another one that resonates and empowers you?
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Judy Helm Wright, author, gives permission to use this article in your newsletter or blog, but please keep the content and contact information complete. If you are looking for an expert in resilience, please call 406-549-9813