Insights: I Have Your Back

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Sometimes life loves to throw us a few curve balls—challenges that seem insurmountable.  Not always what we want or expect in life.

However, these times are there for us to learn. Yet it is not just about the lesson or about what we are experiencing, but about the people who are there for us during those times.

It is during those times that we see who are truly our friends, who securely have our back. What I find is that tough times are part of life, but how we cope is the key. Coping has a lot to do with the people who surround us, and support us.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with several issues that have made my life more challenging that usual.

Fortunately, a few of my friends have surrounded me with their love and support. The more I felt supported, the better I was able to cope with the challenges.

The real challenge in life is finding people who truly have our back and accept us for who we are, even though they may not understand our pain.

This does not mean we do not have a lot of power within ourselves. It’s amazing what we can cope with as human beings. Yet what a difference it makes when we can give or receive a hug or just listen or give some feedback.

On a particularly difficult day, one of my friends sat there, saw me cry, and let me know they were there for me, that they had my back. I was amazed at how I felt such a sense of relief. My anxiety plummeted. I felt a sense of safety I did not feel before.

Safety is a big deal for us as humans. We all like to feel we are okay. There is little worse than feeling we are alone in the world, floating through an ocean that is relentless in it waves that beat against us. People become the floatation that allows us to ride the waves, that keep us alive when it might seem like land is too far away or that we might drown.

Not only does it feel amazing when we receive support, but to also give support. There is something very rewarding when we support others. Connection matters.  That is why it is so painful when any form of relationship ends. We need, or require at a DNA level, a connection to others.

Gladys Hunt, who wrote a wonderful book called “Honey for a Child’s Heart: The imaginative Use of Books in Family Life,” says “What is home? My favorite definition is ‘a safe place,’ a place where one is free from attack, a place where one experiences secure relationships and affirmation. It’s a place where people share and understand each other. Its relationships are nurturing. The people in it do not need to be perfect; instead, they need to be honest, loving, supportive, recognizing a common humanity that makes all of us vulnerable.”

Not only is it about who can be there for us, but what relationships are we nurturing? It takes time, commitment and vulnerability. When we put ourselves out there on a limb it is risky, we can get hurt, that person may not reciprocate or they might just move away.

Yet without this risk we are left lonely, and limited in our life. I truly encourage you to connect with others, be that safe space, create that containment so no matter what happens in their life you know you and others will be okay.

Remember it can just be a hug, a gesture of touch, or eye contact, that shows you are there, and that you have their back.

Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or at

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