20 May 2010

Asking For Help

When was the last time you asked someone for help? I know you probably give a lot but when did you last ask and allow someone to help you?

Some years ago, I became aware of my own reluctance to ask for help. I told myself it didn't matter and really it didn't ... until it did. I began to notice the mind chatter that said: "I should be able to handle this myself" and "Asking for help shows I'm not ok". I became aware of an old, very firmly-held belief insisting that asking for help was a symbol of weakness - not good enough - and an inability to cope with life. With that firmly in place I stumbled about, ignoring lots of help along the way and doing it by myself! Not much difference.

Whenever I did ask for help (but not too much mind you!)I noticed I always asked indirectly. Then rather than simply open myself to receive what was offered, I went into hyper-control mode around how, what, when, where and with whom I would allow myself to be helped! You know what I mean ... the whole "yes, but..." conversation! It was not very satisfying ... for anyone.

I then realised asking indirectly for help came from a belief that if I was really explicit and clear about what I actually wanted/needed, I would be perceived as asking for too much. The thought of actually paying someone to help me was (in my mind) absolute proof that I was not ok. The net result of this behaviour: I did not get what I really wanted and the person (or people) helping me were also left feeling unappreciated. Then the "Ah hah!" moment: The "not good enough" stuff was still running the show and we all know how that works out ... more "not good enough" and the game continued.

When I finally asked for help to change this pattern I saw and felt the old paradigm of fear ... the fear that I was still somehow "not good enough" to have what I want. After about 12 months of regular counselling/coaching, I had more and more experience that it’s not true! I was encouraged and supported to remember who I am, to choose to ask for and receive help the same way I give it - openly, honestly, directly, clearly and completely. When I started asking directly for what I wanted, the old feelings still came up, but rather than agree with them, I chose to breathe and let go and remember who I am. And the more I practise, the easier it gets.

Today asking for help and receiving it is as satisfying as giving it.

"If you are alive you need help."

Ben Renshaw

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