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Check In on the Strong Ones, They Need Support Too

As a seasoned spouse, I’ve seen the rise of the word “resilience” in military circles. I appreciate — greatly — the focus on building strong skills for coping.

We experience so much in military life from extended separations and constant reintegration to a continuously changing landscape of our surroundings.

But, for me, resilience has become more than learning coping skills; there is so much focus on “embrace the suck” or “just deal with it.”

 

Personally, I feel like it’s causing a lot of us to turn inward and resist asking for help. 

 

As a Key Spouse, I often check in on spouses that are dealing with challenging situations.

I love being able to be there for someone, lend a helping hand, and provide resources and support when life changes occur or when times are tough.

Part of what I love about military life is the amazing connections we can make over shared experiences. 

I’ve been told more than once, “You seem to have it so together,” and while it’s meant as a compliment, there are times when it makes me crumble.

 

I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to have it together.

 

And, most of the time, I feel pretty good about having a good grasp on things.

But what about when I don’t? Who checks in on the ones that are the ones we turn to for support? 

A couple of months ago, in a rush, I fell down the stairs. Of course, my husband was TDY, and it also happened to be my daughter’s birthday. 

When my teenage daughter asked me who she should call because it was clear that I’d been injured, I wasn’t even sure how to respond.

While I had wonderful local friends, I wasn’t sure who I should reach out to for help; I didn’t want to be a burden on someone else.

I knew that some of those friends were dealing with their own situations, and I certainly didn’t want to add to their stress. I could just grin and bear it. 

In my mind, I didn’t really need help because I knew people that were dealing with much more than a couple of broken toes.

I didn’t want to need help, but I also felt guilty needing help. I was supposed to be resilient. I kept telling myself that I was lucky that a few broken toes were all I had to deal with.

 

Hearing someone ask, “how’re you doing?” makes such a difference.

 

We may have good poker faces, but sometimes those that seem to be strong and dealing with the curve balls life throws, hurt and struggle.

As the ones that are often outreaching their hand to help, sometimes we don’t do the best job of taking a moment for ourselves and doing self-care.

Sometimes, things are hard for us, too. 

You never know what someone is dealing with and how they might be processing it. A lot of military life can be about waiting and coping with difficult situations.

Some people process those challenges inwardly and some are more comfortable sharing their struggles.

 

Some internalize their feelings because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to do. 

 

Last month, I mentioned how impactful a handwritten note can be.

Checking in on someone with a simple card can make a big impact. A phone call to a friend just to ask how they’re doing and taking a few minutes to listen might be exactly what they needed. 

Will you reach out to a friend, a colleague, a fellow military spouse, to see how they’re doing?

Check in on the ones that are putting themselves out there to help others. Check in on the ones that have a lot on their plate but seem to be gliding through it effortlessly.

Check in on the ones that have gone quiet.

Check in on the ones who are smiling as they hold it all together. 

If you are the one who tries to be everything to everyone, will you reach out for help? Will you say when it’s too much? 

 

 

*For more from Sheila, visit her M:M Author Page.

 

Author

  • Sheila Rupp

    Sheila Rupp is originally from Michigan and is married to her high school sweetheart. She is a copy editor and writer with 20 years of experience. Like many military spouses, Sheila’s career has varied greatly over the years while staying within the communications field. Sheila has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, and a minor in professional writing from the University of New Mexico.  Sheila is a military spouse of 20 years. Having spent the first 17 years as an Air Force spouse, she is now a proud Space Force spouse after her spouse transitioned to the newest branch. In her free time, you’ll find Sheila on hiking trails, curled up with a good book, watching her daughter dance, or traveling the globe. Sheila is currently based in Los Angeles, California, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and dog.

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