Live your life confidently with the help of the “right” people.
Want to live up to your potential? Surround yourself with caring people, who encourage you to pursue your true interests. You don’t need to earn their acceptance and approval because they accept you for who you are. They provide what psychologists call a secure base from which you feel supported in exploring the world and working toward personally meaningful goals.
Importantly, a person who serves as a secure base for you will support you even when their interests or opinions differ from yours. Because of this, you feel that you can turn to that person for support and encouragement.
Begin by getting out a sheet of paper.
List people you might turn to for comfort when you feel upset. They are a safe haven during times of distress. Some signs that a person belongs on the list are that they:
· Are a good listener, so you feel understood
· Express a desire to be there for you when you struggle
· Respond to your distress with caring, reassurance, and support
· Effectively communicate their support and caring
· Just being in their presence feels comforting
Circle the name of each person who also fits with the following list of traits. These traits describe people who can function well as a secure base:
· Show an interest in what’s important to you
· Want you to be the best version of yourself
· Encourage you to explore your interests
· Are consistent in their support and encouragement
· Are supportive even when you differ in opinion or interests
Consider whether you look for support from each person whose name is circled. For those whom you reach out to for encouragement in exploring your interests and values, place a star next to their names. They function as a secure base in your life. The other names that are circled represent potential secure bases.
Often, just recognizing potentially secure bases is not enough to begin turning to them for encouragement. You might intellectually recognize that someone could be a secure base, but still have trouble trusting them. Or, you might tend toward being self-sufficient, preferring not to rely on others for support or encouragement. Yet, this can leave you feeling overwhelmed, self-doubting, and very alone. These are common struggles. However, you can still consciously choose to practice looking to potential secure bases for encouragement, giving yourself new and hopefully positive experiences with having secure bases in your life.
As you begin strengthening actual and potential secure bases, you will likely feel a stronger connection with them, absorb a more positive way of relating to yourself, and feel more confident. In addition, when the other person also looks to you as a secure base, you will enjoy an emotional intimacy and strength that only these mutually supportive relationships can provide. Together you can help each other to feel positive, confident, and willing to take on whatever challenges might arise as you live a personally meaningful life.
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