Asking for help. Of all the themes I work with clients on, this one is high on the list. It is a thing many people struggle with; a fear to reach out for support. They carry stories (“I am not good enough”, “I am not wanted”, “I am a nuisance”) that have them do everything by themselves. Every time I encounter this I feel sad. And tender. Because we human beings are not meant to go it alone. We are mammals, tribe creatures, and even though our current individualistic society might want us to believe otherwise: we need each other.
Turning those beliefs and convictions around to ones of inclusion, belonging and feeling space to reach out for support, is one of my favourite topics to work with.
Maybe because I know it so well: there was a time I was a loner, often unable to create the connections I needed and wanted. There for others, but barely asking for support. In my eyes, my needs were not valid. I felt fear and shame. I did not reach out for support, even though I felt lonely and isolated. I did not know how.
When I started to learn more about my personality and the way I operated, and started to intentionally reach out, I was terrified. I am not exaggerating: all systems were firing and I felt terror. A very young part of me was convinced that reaching out for support was a very bad and even dangerous thing to do, and she felt panic.
Slowly and steadily, over the past years, I have rewired that belief. Nowadays asking for help is one of my immediate ‘go-to’ things, something I do whenever I feel stuck. I love feeling connected to my tribe and I am grateful to be able to receive so much support from the people around me (if you struggle receiving, this blog on “the gift of receiving” might give you a nudge).
And since I see so many clients (and friends) struggle with asking for help I thought I would send a quick message sharing why asking for help is such a good idea.
To start of, Brené Brown did research on this topic.
She found that the number one thing that has people feel more trust in you, is if you reach out for help.
I will say that again: you reaching out has others trust you more. I think that is because we like to help other people: it is nice to be able to do so, especially when we see people we love struggle. I also think it creates a shared sense of humanity: nobody ever has all their shit together, and if they seem to do so, then I would start to worry.
“Needing each other, being needed and needing, is what gives everything that independence brings, meaning” ~ Brené Brown
Life kicks us hard sometimes. We struggle, suffer, are in pain, confusion, fear. And those are the moments it is wise to reach out. Remember you are a mammal and you need your tribe.
You might forget, because at those moments likely all your systems are firing. Somehow we all have these stories about not belonging. But also remember that those stories were created when we were very young, from a limited perspective, and are simply not true. You might believe that they are true, but that does not make them so.
So help yourself rewire those beliefs. Feel the panic. And ask for help.
Do yourself, and others, a service.