I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: Advocacy as Self-Compassion


“I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends,” a song first written by the Beatles and then famously covered by Joe Cocker in a raspy voice as a message to others that things get tough, but you can always make it through, continue to try, love and be loved with a little help from your friends.

When you struggle, the greatest form of self-compassion is to acknowledge your suffering and advocate to yourself and others for help.  Many of us have a hard time with this believing that such effort is a crutch preventing our own ability to self-regulate and even more a burden on people who have done us the good service of caring about us. 

It is understandable that we think we have to accomplish and manage everything on our own.  In so many of our songs, movies, and commercials, we portray one person overcoming all odds to be successful, and then we galvanize this belief by making this person a mythical hero.  The problem with social myths is that they become so common that we forget they exist, and thus we become driven by messages that we do not have the means to question.

However, if you know cultural myths or stories that we tell about our heroes or even villains exist, you can begin to look at them.  With this awareness, you can decide if they are helping you and others to live a good life or not, and hopefully take on those that do and let go of those that do not.

In most cases, the most successful, resilient people have the strongest support groups and a strong will to thrive.  Compare it to a good meal.  You must have good ingredients and the will to cook.  Uncooked pasta does not taste as good as it looks.  Believe me.  I’ve tried!

So, it seems pretty clear that advocating for yourself is important, but if you already know this or accept it now may be thinking that it would still be difficult to ask.  Here are some things to consider.

First, friends and loved ones need to feel needed otherwise they will question their value in your relationship.

Second, if we care about our friends, we advocate for our needs when they manifest, so as not to feel overlooked or mistreated when these needs go unsupported or unmet. 

Third, advocating for yourself lets your friends know what you need in a relationship, so that they can be successful at being your friend.  It also gives them permission to advocate for their own needs, which brings them considerable peace and well being. 

Fourth, the depth of a friendship is built on the sacred role of supporter and supported during vulnerable moments across the lifetime of your relationship.  That is what separates good friends or close family members from acquaintances and family members that you acknowledge from a distance.

From a self-compassion perspective, we advocate for ourselves because suffering is the only reason we need to desire kindness.  It is not what you get from advocating, but simply advocating that programs your system that you are worthy of and will receive kindness from yourself and others.  It also models self-compassion for others, especially for those whom we care the most.

 Be kind to yourself. Share your life and needs with others. Be a compassionate audience to the lives and needs of others too. Live in well being, love, and support.  Or you could meander around, dragging your feet in despair like a stubborn old goat.  I think the goat gets a bad rap.  They seem to be pretty friendly at the petting zoos!

365 Days of Kindness. Self Compassion.  Day 17.  In the Books.