Even looking at the title “Help” makes me a little uncomfortable. Does it do that for you? Are you good at asking for help? Do you often help others? How does the word help show up for you?
For me, it is both my strength and weakness. I have never been good at asking for help. In fact, I might be the worst at it and am still working on it today. That said, it has made me strong, agile, and able to have grit, grow and be a strong person who is always pushing herself to do more, be better.
I didn’t realize I was bad at asking for help until I was listening to my mom tell me a story about when I was little. I was selling girl scout cookies with my friends and I was complaining about my stomach hurting. It was Saturday and my mom was working so my dad picked me up. We went home and I went to bed complaining about my stomach. My dad didn’t know what to do so he called my mom who owned her own hair salon in town. She asked, “did she eat breakfast, has she eaten?” Well, that was it. I was hungry and the adult in me hearing this story made me realize how bad I was at asking for help as a child.
I was so bad at asking for help that as a child I wouldn’t even ask my parents for food when I was hungry.
As a result of not asking for help, I pushed myself. If I struggled I tried harder. I found a way to make it work. I got lucky that some people saw me struggling, saw me looking out the window at school too long, and asked me if I needed help. Even when I said I didn’t, even when the whole town knew my Dad had cancer I said no. When I think back I got a lot of help and people really cared about me. I wonder if they helped since they knew I wouldn’t ask, or they appreciated how hard I was trying. As a result, I have so much respect for people who are trying, people who are hanging on, do it on their own and be accountable!
I also love to help and feel thankful I have found a profession that allows me to help others achieve success. I also feel very lucky that I have a husband who is a helper. He is my best friend and knows me even when I am not paying attention to myself. He even got morning sickness when I first got pregnant (and I didn’t). We are very connected and having someone like him, has been a lifesaver for me. He also loves to help and it’s been a learning process to let go of the control and accept that help.
Many times a story of one’s life doesn’t look the same from the outside. That strong woman who has it all together needs help too and I write this not to highlight this in me but to highlight this need for all the others who are too strong, too scared, too conditioned to ask for help.
We all have our dark moments, our struggle, and when you see this in a friend, a loved one, don’t ask how you can help, ask them “what do you need” so you can do that for them. A true gift is one that is not asked for, one that is given from the heart, one that doesn’t need recognition or even acknowledgment for the true gift is the ability to give.
Life is hard and we all need a little help sometimes. Make sure you don’t miss the quiet ones, the strong ones, the ones who aren’t asking for help… as they are often the ones who need it the most. * L