Learn to be Your own Support System

Circumstance forced me into a corner for the first two decades of my life. I was born female, into a family from Iran. I am the older sister of two younger brothers. I picked up my father’s stubborn-headedness.

I grew up in a world that my parents tried to protect me from. When I look back on their parenting, I’m not mad or bitter. No one is given a manual on parenting in a country with a culture they are unfamiliar with. But their lack of expertise and tough love tactics pushed me into the world where I had support myself.

Learning to walk the fine line of trying to fit into two worlds, two cultures, lead me to not really fit into either one. Friendships came and went, but never stuck. I was just always a little off. My relationship with my family was tumultuous, to say the least.

I went through the same struggles as every teen. Low self-esteem, unhappiness, uncertainty about my future. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know how to open up to anyone for help. I leaned heavily on myself. At times it was dangerous. There was only so much a 15-yeard old could do for herself. I was just as inexperienced as my parents. Unknowingly, I became my own support system. I held myself together through the good and the bad.

It wasn’t perfect. Being on your own will never be perfect. You need others in your life to help see the world from a different perspective. But, when no one else is there you have to learn to trust yourself. There will be times where no one will be on your side. There will be no one to lean on. That’s okay. It’s not a time to panic. It’s a time to rise to the occasion.

Tips for effectively leaning on yourself:

  1. Learn the ins and outs of your mind. You can’t trust yourself if you don’t know why you make decisions.
  2. Repeat the facts, focus on what’s true. When you are your own support system, there is no one to tell you when you’re overreacting. Focus on what you know. Let go what you think.
  3. Be kind to yourself. I learned this the hard way when I was younger. You can’t be the only one in your corner, and also the one beating yourself up in the ring.

At the end of the day, it’s not sustainable to be on your own. You might find that you’re on your own for so long that you don’t trust others to want to help you. At the end of the day, supporting yourself includes seeking out support from others as well.

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