As social animals we look for opportunities to connect with each other in so many ways throughout our day. How do we do this? Well the first is often eye contact. We actually make the effort to look at one another. This involves a kind of scanning gaze until we lock eyes with each other. Once we have locked eyes the connection often deepens further because the contact is cemented with a smile. That smile can lead to a knowing nod which communicates that we are on the same wave length as the other person. It is a form of communication that says a lot despite using no words. This all happens within a matter of seconds and can be repeated with numerous people throughout a single day.
A wave or nod of the head or a passing “hello” also serves to help us connect with others. We enjoy, no matter how brief. this departure from isolation to connection.
So imagine the value to our own sense of self worth when we actually sit down with the explicit purpose of sharing our thoughts and feelings with someone else? That is what a support group encourages and allows us to do within the confines of a safe, confidential and caring environment.
We come together with a shared purpose of being of some kind of help to each other and in the process gain a bond of caring connection. This kind of peer support allows us to discover how very much we have in common in our struggles and triumphs. It is also an opportunity to learn from one another what works and what does not work; what is helpful and what is less helpful; what is common and what is different – all in the span of a couple of hours.
These well-earned lessons taught by others’ experiences and their willingness to generously share them can provide enormous resources when facing our own challenges. We can reflect on them and then decide which ones to apply to our current challenges with the purpose of finding satisfactory resolution. In essence it gives us a “menu of solutions” to try on and either keep using or discard if it does not work or is no longer needed.
This array of choices is true self-empowerment. We chose if, what, when, where and how we will use such resources. This is both freeing and powerful. Unlike a friendship connection – a support group is mandated to listen and share an array of solutions without bogging down the person with the struggle or complaint with the common practice of advice-giving. In fact advice giving is actively discouraged. Instead members of the support group are actively encouraged to share a menu of solutions.
This menu of solutions is recorded in writing by one of the group facilitators and given to the person sharing his or her challenge as a reference for future use if so desired. It can be very helpful to all members of the group if as follow up, the receiver of this menu of solutions shares, when comfortable, what action steps were eventually taken and what happened as a result. This is valuable learning for everyone.
In order for everyone to be heard and assisted, it is necessary to establish some respectful practices that are understood and followed by everyone in the support group. Theses respectful practices require a shared agreement and often include one speaker at a time; sharing solution ideas rather than advice; use of respectful, encouraging language and of course upholding the confidentiality of what is being said. There are no “experts” in a support group however trained group facilitators are there to promote the purpose of the group and safeguard the well-being of its members by reminding and re-directing others to honour the agreed upon practices of the group.
We, at Fork Smart, are in your corner and rooting for your success. So we are now offering a monthly support group to promote “Staying Power” for a whole plant-based lifestyle. You never have to be alone – your well-being is a key priority for us. So we will begin facilitating this new support group initiative beginning on Monday, September 24th at 6: 45pm. Location will be posted via email closer to the date.
“Staying Power”a new Support Group!!!! Monday, September 24th at 6:45pm First Meeting – will be at Kate and Andrew’s home – SW Calgary Location 403-519-9261
Register through this new Meetup site: https://www.meetup.com/Fork-Smart-Staying-Power-WP…
Take the leap and sign up and then make the commitment to better health by coming to these monthly meetings. Hope to see you there!!!