How to Support Yourself and Others
(Fair warning: This post is more theoretical than empirical. But since when does life fit into a perfectly practical listicle anyway?) There is a mantra our mentor/coach, Gabriel, would say to us that became the mainstay adopted belief that bonded us all together in our little Crossfit box in Astoria, Queens (Crossfit Queens). He would say it often and with conviction. The words extended beyond the simplicity of it. It has now made its way onto t-shirts and memes circulated throughout the interwebs. "Hungry and Humble."
At first glance, "Hungry and Humble" is a personal reminder to not lose sight of self-imposed goals and to be gracious when the goals are not meant immediately. It is a reminder to be okay with the journey, to work toward incremental improvement, and to internally stay in the fight. But digging deeper, this mantra can touch upon the important practice of giving and receiving support. And who doesn't want that?
This week, the Whole Life Challenge practice wanted us to comment on each others' progress in order to build each other up through words of support. I received quite a lot of kind messages from various people going through the same issues with food choices, stress, and other variable that could inhibit growth. I also tried to dole out my own share of pep talks. It was a good first step in putting our personal stamps of motivation out into the world.
The vast majority of our days are spent in our own heads, pushing against a wall hoping to get somewhere, progressing slowly in our own lives with our own obstacles. It takes a lot to snap out of our daily internal monologue to see what sort of activity is regularly circulating around us. But in consciously making the effort to find opportunities to extend beyond ourselves, to provide support for those circulating our lives, the more aware we become. We become aware of the repeated internal monologue that, quite often, is more negative than not. We become more aware of those who might be speaking the same monologue. Stay hungry in your pursuit to provide support, to be engaged in your community, and to extend beyond yourself.
Raise your hand if you have the hardest time taking a complement. You're not alone. It's one of those awkward social constructs that we all have to navigate at some point. "You're amazing!" Thanks? "You've got a great clean and jerk." I appreciate that? "Your legs are awesome." HAHAHA what?
Humility is credible in certain situations, but it can be limiting when recognizing and understand support. It takes a certain self-awareness to be able to accept a compliment and enjoy accepting support from others. To take it a step further, accepting support is an extension of how you view your self worth. Being open in support will make you more connected to the parts of your life that strive to be noticed and need a little encouragement. Stay humble in your humility. Give the people in your life the chance to offer support, and accept the support with grace.
Giving and receiving support is not a cut and dry, easily accessible, and formulaic routine. It is, and should be, different for everyone. And it is through actively staying hungry and humble in this pursuit that we will, hopefully, be able to recognize the strength in ourselves and each other.
How do you offer support?