Support is that one thing that can entirely change the course of our lives. Whether we lose a loved one, or we're debating whether or not to quit a job, how we deal with the stressers that comes from these difficult situations will depend on the type of support we have in our corner.
Honest, life is tough. Even as I write that, I'm aware that most of my "trying times" haven't been gut wrenching experiences. I'm also aware that this hasn't been the case for everyone; some have gone through unimaginable pain, far worse than I can currently fathom. Change however, whether good or bad, requires some level of support.
As much as I hate the unknowns that come with change, change is something I'm constantly after. I think most of us are busy chasing it, whether or not it's something we openly talk about. The other day, a friend asked me what gravitated me towards the teaching profession before I truly learned all about it. Quite honestly, a huge part of it has stemmed from my desire for autonomy. A high level of autonomy leaves room for surprises. Surprises leave room for excitement.
As a female in the South Asian community ( I say this because it's the only experience I can speak from), life goals + personal desires are somehow written out for you. How your life is suppose to play out is somehow predetermined, even if you have no desire of fulfilling those same goals for yourself. According to older aunties and uncles in the community, happiness comes from getting an education, landing a "typical" full-time job, getting married and having kids (in that order mind you). Every other decision that doesn't fit these milestones is met with resistance. No matter how supportive your parents are, it somehow comes down to: "what will people think?" ... Why does it matter what other people think? If you're okay with it, that's all that should matter, and if you're not okay with it, you probably should get on board cause we'll probably end up doing it anyways (lol... just kidding)! As someone who is constantly chasing change, not all my decisions are greeted with smiles. Sometimes they're greeted with confusion. Sometimes guilt. Sometimes sadness. Sometimes even anger.
Although our loved ones might have our best interest in mind, not all of them will know how to support us. They may not even agree with some of the decisions we make. My parents can always encourage and motivate me to apply for teaching jobs , but they won't know how to help me come job interviews/applications. Can they be supportive parents? Absolutely! But, when it comes to preparing for an interview, it'll be up to me to find the support and mentor-ship I need from someone else who has expertise in that particular area.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: support will not always come from your family/close friends. If you're not getting the support you need from the people around you, that doesn't mean you can't get support elsewhere. It also doesn't mean that they don't care for you. This goes for any aspect of one's life; career, relationship, mental health, anything really. You can have the most supportive parents and friends in the entire universe, and that still will not mean they'll have all the answers you're looking for. They will not know how to help you with EVERY aspect of your life. There isn't a how-to manual for finding genuine and authentic support. But, there's definitely things that we can actively do to find support in unfamiliar places. It all begins with asking. Asking questions. Asking for feedback. Asking to meet over coffee. Asking to get involved in something that has caught your attention. Sometimes, it's those sweet strangers who are able to pass on that non-biased support we truly need. That raw, no fluff, no bullshit type of support. Just straight up facts of what needs to be done and what steps need to be taken in order to reach the goals you have.
I use to be so scared to reach out to people I hardly knew. I rarely left comments on other bloggers posts. Why would they wanna hear from me? I was doing nothing to foster a meaningful relationship with people who truly interested me. Once I started reaching out to people, asking questions whenever I had any, I gained a sense of support I didn't even realize was out there.
I've learned that genuine people like helping others. Most people want to offer support because it helps reiterate that they're doing something right, and that someone else (even more so when it's a stranger) cares about what they have to offer. If you've been stuck in a rut lately, and you don't know what to do next, reach out to someone you think can offer you some guidance. Whether it's for interview help, collaboration opportunities, or changing your career path altogether, someone out there has some valuable information they want to pass along. Even if the other person doesn't know too much about you, just ask for a moment of their time. I have been doing that a lot more recently, and it has given me a sense of clarity and confidence. Send out a quick e-mail, brighten up someone's day. People want to help. They want to offer support. It's out there. It just comes down to whether or not you wanna look for it and accept it when it comes.
A 24 year old Canadian living (& teaching) in Shenzhen, China.