Help. A word with so many colors and connotations that it would require way too many posts to identify and explain them all. For our purposes, let’s say that by “help” I am referring to what it means to ask for professional help when you are in pain, in crisis, or otherwise lost and don’t know where else to go. There are people who hold fears asking for help.
In some cultures or families, it is considered a sign of weakness, even lethal, to ask for professional help – a sign that you are betraying your family secrets, or worse, your family members. In some family systems, secrets are lauded as “sacred” and not to be discussed amidst the chosen members.
In others, secrets are betrayed and boundaries are violated. In those families, there is no safe space to share and no personal pain left un-gossiped about. In some families, there is a framework of busy-ness In these homes, everyone remains so active and productive that nobody has a moment to breathe, let alone feel an emotion other than “overdrive.”
And in other families still, there is only the allowance for achievement – the mentality of “best (wo)man wins” leaves anyone who is in emotional pain to hide out under the covers or find an external talent that will validate them into feeling less of their loneliness, isolation and pain.
No matter which family system you fall within, if you fall into any of the family archetypes listed above, then it is highly likely you have grave challenges asking for and/or receiving help.
A great friend of mine always says the following, “Blythe, receiving is the advanced class.” And after years of working on my own challenges around asking for and allowing help, this finally makes sense to me.
There is something universally sacred and inherently spiritual about putting a piece of one’s story – one’s life – in another person’s proverbial arms and allowing the emotions and the responsiveness to the land where they may. It is certainly a gift to the receiver but ultimately when in good professional hands, the gift is then returned back to the person asking for help in the way of emotional freedom, clarity and even peace.
I know all of this sounds like I am suggesting that one should just be able to go out and receive graciously, ask for help with no qualms or fears and to just dive into that all important step NOW, but I don’t think that at all. I think asking for help is hard. If it were easier, we wouldn’t have so many broken-hearted, wounded people walking around our neighborhoods and workplaces.
We wouldn’t have so many people hurting other people as a result of their own un-examined wounds. We wouldn’t have so many people feeling isolated and as though social media is their only source of human interaction. What I do know is this, that there are people out there, perhaps like yourself, who are ready and willing to take that next step and get the help you have most likely been needing for a long time. And if you fall into that category, but are just needing some guidance about how to move forward and breakthrough your fears, you have come to the right place.
4 Common Fears About Asking For Help:
1. Fear that my family and friends will find out I’m broken and they won’t love me anymore.
One of the common fears around asking for help is that those we love the most will find out we aren’t perfect and somehow abandon us or fail to love us anymore.
While this is something that almost never happens, it is a fear that makes complete sense given what messages we have learned in our earlier years about asking for help. Many of us walk around with partial truths and half-masks – only showing certain parts of ourselves to certain people and compartmentalizing ourselves to avoid perceived rejections. How utterly exhausting! What many of us DON’T think about, however, is that the people around us are most likely walking around doing the same thing. The idea that should inherently be without flaw is not only an unachievable one but also a self-defeating one.
Think about it. If you continue to feed into the idea that those around you will only love you if you are perfect, this means that on some level, you are expecting the same of those around you as well. This is a tall order for yourself and others, and one that doesn’t enhance connections and relationships, but, rather, detracts from them. Imagine how much closer you would be to those you love the most if you were more honest with them about your struggles and allowed them to feel more open to being honest about theirs as well.