Support and Challenge
We all have little voices in our heads that help us to dictate what decisions we make, how we time manage, talk to people, and so many other things. We refer to this as our “Conscious.” Most of us know the iconic devil on one shoulder and angel on the other that is depicted in most cartoons that we all have grown up with.
The principle of Support/Challenge itself is very similar to the cartoons sitting on shoulders. Support is exactly as it sounds. Support is support. It is encouragement that you give yourself, whether it is how you look, what you said, how hard you work. What causes you to support yourself? The better question yet, do you support yourself at all?
No matter your answer to that last question, think back to a time in your life when someone provided encouragement after you completed a task. How did that make you feel? I think most of us can agree that receiving a kind word or a bit of encouragement helps to make you feel empowered. Well, the first step in feeling empowered is supporting ourselves.
A lot of the time we tend to listen to that critical voice in our heads. It ends up being one of the biggest factors in determining our self-worth and what we bring to the world. We allow that voice to be the judge of who we are. That voice is the voice of Challenge that we hear.
Challenge is good until it isn’t. If challenge is an unmatched voice that dictates who you are, how you work, and so on and so forth, you will not succeed. Apologies for the frankness, but challenge alone is not something that we can survive off of as human beings. There is a need for balance. In order for Challenge to be healthy, it needs to be paired with support.
Personally, I have never been amazing at supporting myself. I always listen to my critical voice because I always believe that the challenge I bring myself helps me to become the best version of myself. This is true to an extent, but like most things balance is key. If I do not provide support for myself alongside the challenge then it is as if the scale is too heavy on one side than the other. I dominate myself and that branches into dominating those around me. Providing the right amount of support and challenge is what Liberates.
You wouldn’t go to your coworker and address the giant pimple on their forehead before complimenting their outfit. That is exactly what we do each day. We wake up and immediately the self-critique starts to flow. I challenge you to bring support first thing. It is something I have to consciously do each day as I go through the day. I sit at work and congratulate myself on a job well done before I ever bring the critique.
That is the beginning of growth. You wouldn’t listen to the cartoon devil on your right shoulder and forget about the angel on the left. Don’t let challenge be the only voice in your head. Support is about balance. You are capable, you are worthy, and you are strong. Critique helps us become a better version of ourselves, but support helps us believe that we will become that version!