If you’re like me, you’ve been raised to help people and work hard but you likely weren’t encouraged to ask for help, much less when to recognize when you needed it. It might be a cultural issue in the Western world, because we’re so focused on the individual. Maybe for you, as for me, it’s a more personal challenge.
I used to be quite proud and I often confused that trait with another; my independence. Thinking that I could (and should) be doing everything on my own didn’t serve me, in fact, it got me sick. Taking too much pride in my independence led me to exclude the possibility of even having outside resources, other than myself. This made my world quite small, and my opportunities quite scarce. It meant that when I was struggling, it wouldn’t even occur to me that there was help available and that maybe, a more creative, less painful, much kinder solution was within my reach.
In doing this work, both being on ‘spiritual journey’ and working as a reiki master, I’ve peeled layers upon layers of limiting beliefs. I’ve also shed many ‘agreements’ that reinforced that “life was hard and that work was payment for most good things in life”. Just last week, I was toying the idea of sharing some work with a former colleague.
At first, the idea of sharing triggered some insecurities in relation to abundance. Then, I realized that we’d both win from this scenario; I’d have less on my plate and she’d have a bit of work she was happy to take on. Had I been too proud, had I been afraid of opening up and being vulnerable, had I not considered and asked for help, I wouldn’t have resolved my work “crunch”.
Of course, there are many areas where we could use support and we feel uncomfortable asking for it; we’re afraid to be vulnerable and that it somehow means we’re unworthy or not good enough. But there’s nothing further from the truth! Being vulnerable allows us to connect to each other in an authentic way. And when we connect to one another, we appreciate each other for who we are and we learn to accept ourselves.
We certainly want to chose who we’re vulnerable with – are they safe people to open up to? – but we shouldn’t shy away from the social experience which is life as a human being.
When we ask for help, we also give. We give of ourselves by being authentic, we share our experience of being vulnerable, and through these, we gift the space for connection. We also give an opportunity for someone to experience giving, and ourselves the chance to receive.
If you’re still wondering if you can recognize when you need to ask for help or support, here are some signs…
1-You’re feeling tired for days at a time
Sure, you may just have a cold or need more sleep, but if the lethargy continues for over a week, you may be emotionally tired, as well as physically exhausted. Do you have too much on your mind? Of course, if this last for months, you may have another health issue, such as a hormone imbalance and should see your health practitioner.
2-You’re overwhelmed and irritable
You may have bitten off more than you can chew. How does your calendar look; is there something going on every night this week? Have you been going to appointments, meetings, play dates, evenings out on the town for the last…oh, you can’t remember when? Time to clear a few things from the schedule and book some personal time. Then, ask someone you trust to help you do one or two things left on the calendar.
3-You fantasize about walking away
If you dream of dropping everything and driving into the sunset, you might have too much to handle. You probably don’t want to quit everything and stop ‘adulting’. You probably just need to shed what’s no longer a priority or something that’s dragging you down.
The daydream may be nice, but the fact you’re having it, maybe more than once, could indicate that you need to ask for help. Do you need a night off from the kids? Do you need to say no to that extra contract? Perhaps you could ask your hubby to help with dinner, while you either have a soak in the tub or go to a yoga class. It’s ok to take a break and it’s ok to ask for someone’s support to make it happen.
How do you know you need to ask for help? Is there something in your life you could get support with, right now?