About 15 months ago I posed that exact question to myself. This came off the back of my feeling at the time that I did not believe I could do anything. My answer to the question at the time was that no-one else was my cheerleader; I had to be my own.
Analysing the question, and answer, it seems to me there are numerous ways in which I think my perspective was a bit wrong at that time; as much as it was a question about others, it was also a question about me.
What did I think being and having a cheerleader meant? A cheerleader in the general knowledge sense of the word is a supporter and encourager for a person or team. So I suppose I was asking where I was getting reassurance and motivation from.
There is a sense about the question that I put the responsibility for my drive and emotional status on to others rather than myself. But contrastingly I had an isolating logic that I felt the solution to the ‘problem’ lay internally rather than externally.
I think about that question and answer a little differently now.
I am my own cheerleader and perhaps the most important, but are others too. I would say that we all need cheerleaders. But I support myself differently to how those around me support me, because I have the most intimate knowledge of myself and my goals.
In my life before there was a vacuum, rather than an opposing force. I had friends and family who were supportive of me in the general sense but they could not fill the void of nothing that was there in the first place. I had no self-esteem, no self-belief and placed no value on myself. I had no goals or internal focus.
Suggesting to myself that the only way to be supported was to provide it myself, enabled me to start developing my self belief, fertilise the embryonic forms of my thoughts on setting of goals for my life, create my own positives and value myself.
External cheerleaders can provide much encouragement, but they cannot define direction, otherwise they become dictators. We need to set our course so that our cheerleaders can see where we are going. But we need their external inspiration.
I would argue that without this component even the most focused and creative individual will not be able to achieve their dreams. Learning, growing, achieving, survival are all based on not only what we do but the impact of our actions on others and the impact of their actions on us.
In a pure economic sense, if I or anyone shares what we have, we expect to receive something in return. This is very simplistic and makes support transactional. But I also have a definite sense that support should be genuine and honest, not just the paying of lip service.
On top of this, support can only be given and received if you are open to it. And I was not. Humans are not pack animals, and yet we are not designed to live in isolation. Support from others is important for validating you and your goals.
In developing my internal focus I have become more connected to a community and it has expanded my community too. Now because I am taking charge of my life and exploring it, I am receiving more support from others, and I have learned that I have value in the lives of others.
Assisting others to achieve their goals does not have to conflict with you achieving your own goals. That is not to say that you should sacrifice yourself for another, but that there is synergy and effectiveness in coming together, in giving you will receive so much.
We can all be cheerleaders of ourselves and others; spread a little love, support, motivation and inspiration.