If you’re serious about becoming part of the solution in a debt support group instead of being part of the problem, there are certain behaviors you can engage in. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised as to how uncommon common sense is in the typical support group context.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, people often take things too seriously to the extent that they take things personally. They become so defensive and they’re so eager to push back that whatever benefits they originally intended to get from the group is essentially wasted. This really is too bad because the quality of any kind of support group, regardless of whatever addiction it’s seeking to address, depends on the quality of the people.
The good news is that anybody can be a good support group member. It all depends on your attitude. It doesn’t matter what your IQ is. It doesn’t matter what your experiences and backgrounds are. What matters is the attitude that you bring to the support group. If you want it to be a positive and a truly profitable experience, pay attention to the following. Conduct yourself this way and you are sure to get the most out of the debt support group you join.
You might not have all the answers. You might not have the professional training. But I can guarantee you that if you want to truly help other people in a support group, you only need to do one thing. Be encouraging.
When you encourage people, they get an emotional lift. They get re-energized. Their minds get renewed. They get the push that they need to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to truly establish a breakthrough. In many cases, it only takes the right kind of encouragement for people to truly confront their personal demons in such a way that they overcome. Be that person. Be that source of positive energy.
There are many debt support groups that look and function more like churches than support groups. Keep in mind that you’re not in a lecture hall. Keep in mind that you’re not listening to a sermon. Instead, you’re in a support group and you’re supposed to interact with each other.
It’s the interaction that heals people. It’s the interaction that pushes people to the next level. Unfortunately, there is no interaction when people do not ask questions. So lead by example and get the ball rolling by asking follow-up questions. You have to remember that the only stupid question is the question that isn’t asked.
It’s very easy for many support groups to essentially degenerate into college lecture halls. In other words, people go to these places and simply just listen to information. They just listen and listen and listen, and nothing really happens. Why? They’re just sucking up info.
I’m sorry to break this to you, but if you want the debt support group to actually produce real changes in your life, you shouldn’t just sit back and listen. Instead, you should listen and actually take action on the info that you receive. Most importantly, once you’ve taken action, you can then give a report to the group and tell them, in no uncertain terms, what the results were.
Become the case study. Otherwise, it’s very easy to just go into a meeting, get information, and not act on that information. Not surprisingly, nothing happens.
In addition to being encouraging, you should also be welcoming of new members. You have to remember that you’re all in the same team. There is no “us” and no “them”. There is only “we”. Remember this.
Regardless of whether you have a one hundred thousand debt or a one million dollar debt, you’re all on the same boat. You’re all suffering from your propensity to handle your personal finances badly. Use this commonality to be welcoming and open to each other. The more supportive you are, the more healing is possible in your group.