No matter what your politics, it is hard to see Hilary Clinton on our TV screens almost every night these past few months and not be reminded of her book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us, in which she writes about her vision for the children of America. She focuses on the impact friends, neighbors and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child’s well-being.
For a plethora of personal reasons, I’ve been reminded again how important it is to find a team of people who can support you when you’re looking to make important changes in your life. Whether it’s financial, professional or personal help (thanks Alan), or something as organic as getting healthier (thanks Vanessa), or just feeling better (thanks Jim), creating or reaching out to your own ‘village’ is a Godsend when trying to make your way through challenging times.
I recognize ‘feeling better’ is a relative term and has different meaning for each of us. It could mean making that long overdue trip to your doctor to get a check-up, or looking for a personal trainer who can help you work through your personal fitness issues. It could mean employing a registered dietician or nutritionist to support your efforts to eat healthfully, or maybe its time to consider a terrific therapist who you can spill your guts to.
It may take a couple tries to find people you like. Keep trying because when you do find them they can be like gold. Your state should provide listings to women’s organizations, which focus on women’s health, nutrition, fitness and emotional issues. They can guide you to professionals in a wide variety of disciplines. Reaching out to friends or family to let them know you need their support can also be very important.
I don’t know why I’ve always been bad about asking people for help, but I suspect I’m not alone. Doing everything ourselves, never letting on that we have weaknesses or need help can be an unproductive part of our human nature, so we often suffer in silence.
Creating your own ‘village’ is important in my view, b/c our needs may be better met when we bring together the expertise of folks who offer us different perspectives. A woman’s total health is a complex issue. And each woman is unique. Surrounding yourself with people who want to help you, gives you the feeling that you’re not alone, people care and most importantly, you can succeed at getting where you want to go.
You may be surprised to find very good programs through your local community center, religious organizations or the YWCA. Look for professionals who will work with you and your special needs and always seek referrals.