• Erica

Building a Support System: Learning to Foster Important Relationships.

It's May 2001. The Indiana sky is overcast and the air is chilly. A couple of teenaged girl friends pull up to a frozen custard shop to visit a friend who recently started working there. For one friend, who was fairly new to this area of town, it was her first visit to the shop. The girls step up to the sliding glass window to order. There he was, this friend. He and the new girl lock eyes for a brief second. They flirt a little as he prepares her order that he then drops. Embarrassed, he remakes the order. Although, just meeting, the girl feels an attraction to this guy. She decides to not make much of it. They go on to eventually become really close. Pretty much best friends. They talked all the time. Their friendship helped to shape their lives for years to come.

It's funny really that they grew to become such close friends. They were so different. She was focused and goal-directed while he was laid back and just went with the flow. She was serious about school while it was merely a formality for him at the time. What brought them together, however, was what they shared in common. They both have a great sense of humor, are kind-hearted, and discovered they both want the same things in life. They eventually started dating. Although using the word dating would be a stretch. There was nothing really formal about it. They hung out together and just enjoyed each other's company. Though a relationship is not without its challenges, and they had them, especially being only teenagers. When together, they were totally on the same page. However, when not together, they seemed to not even be in the same book. She was laser-focused on the future and what needed to happen now to get there. He, on the other hand, well, he was not. She did not understand it. Here was this super smart and nice guy, who could do and be anything he put his mind to. He just wasn't putting his mind to it. They toughed it out, although it was not easy for either of them. He felt like she was tripping all the time about him hanging out with friends when she was really just worried but not knowing how to effectively communicate that. She felt like he did not care about his future and their's together when really he was just lost and not knowing how to deal with that. With time and maturity, they grew and learned how to be better partners, eventually marrying. Things just clicked for them.

Their relationship, like ALL relationships, requires hard work and effort from both of them. They learned and keep learning how to work together. He learned when to help her relax and chill. While, she learned when to help him get moving and excited. They worked. They worked well. She knows that without him, she would have grown to be an uptight, nervous-wreck with anxiety for sure. He knows that without her, he would have possibly been left behind doing dumb kid stuff that carried over into adulthood. She knows when to bring them up and he knows when things need to slow down. They push each other to be and do his or her best. They dream big, but share in those dreams. They understand and respect each other. Where one falls short, the other picks up. They are simpatico, and their relationship continues to grow and develop as they experience life together and learn more about each other even almost 19 years later.

I share all that to say finding a person or people that get you is a blessing in life. The example above is my own personal experience with being in a relationship with someone who gets me, someone who pushes me to be the best me all the while allowing me to be myself. This relationship can come in several forms: dating, marriage, friendship, family. The key is that when you find people who want to see you reach your full potential, hold on dearly to them. You need those people in your life. There are countless experiences that we have had and will have in life where you need those people who will push you, who will keep you focused, and who will keep you motivated. Some of us only need one person in our corner like that, while some of us need several. It doesn't matter how many people are there, just that they are there. Nurture those relationships. A relationships with any other person is work, period. Be prepared and willing to work for partnerships, marriages, friendships, kinship. Work for love because it works for you. When people love you they care for you and want what is best for you.

If you are working to change your lifestyle for the better, a support system is gold. Changing your lifestyle means changing your habits. That is not without challenges. The company you keep when times are difficult is key. Avoid those that relish in your defeat and seem to carry negativity everywhere they go. When faced with obstacles, you want people there who will help you navigate through them so that you come out stronger on the other side. Have positivity, motivation, and determination in your corner. Have patience, understanding, and love with you too. Keep good company. Whatever that means for you. Know that the people around which you decide to be, influence your views and moves in life. You become whoever your company is, even if you do not see yourself to be anything like them. I stress to my oldest, when choosing friends, choose wisely. You can do absolutely nothing wrong, but if you're hanging out with people who are doing wrong or stupid things. Guess what? You're doing them even if you never touched, agreed to, or actively participated in them. Surround yourself with people who are doing the right things and have similar goals to yours. Do not become negative and lack self-confidence because that's the tone around you. Change the tone around you. You have control over that.

Take control. If this finds you contemplating, starting, or in a lifestyle change or any obstacle, evaluate your corner. Make sure the people there will give you water, put petroleum jelly on your wounds, and push you continue round after round until you're victorious. You've got this!

Always striving to help,


For more information about changing your lifestyle and gaining a support system, visit getfitward.com

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