Mission Impossible: Asking For Help & Embracing Vulnerability

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By Lisa Thomson, Featured DM Blogger - December 05, 2013

Are you like me and have a hard time asking for help? You don’t want to burden your friends so you tell them you’re okay when you’re actually falling down a hole so deep you fear Alice.

I can’t think of a more appropriate time than during separation and divorce that we require help from family and friends. Suddenly single parenting, dealing with lawyers, moving, starting a new career or educational program and all simultaneously…we think we can we manage it alone. WE think if we can’t manage it all alone we must be weak. There must be something wrong if we need help when actually, asking for help is a sign of strength.

You are strong

If we put it all into perspective, we quickly realize most people can’t even handle a move let alone everything else going on during divorce. The continuous emotional and financial drain alone could send one down the rabbit hole. You deserve a medal for what you’re going through. Don’t ever feel weak. 

Here's your Badge of Courage...

badge of courage for blog small.jpgYou are strong and beautiful. Strong people know how to ask for help when they need it!

What will happen if you ask for help? Will you feel exposed…

I’ve always been determined to go unnoticed, the opposite of being exposed. I guess it’s from a left over childhood shyness. Always afraid of being called out in school and not knowing the answer, I would usually sit quietly. I was afraid of being laughed at for asking the wrong question, not ‘getting it’ or (you fill in the blank)_________.

Of course, as a writer I’m putting it all out there. It’s an extreme vulnerability. No one would refer to me as a shy person but asking for help might bring the shy, insecure girl back. It would make me vulnerable.

Friends and family would know I was hurting, suffering, worrying or ____________. This has always made me uncomfortable. Even though I could trust, I couldn’t let my guard down. Even though I knew that if a friend asked me for help I would not only be flattered that she could trust me, but I would be enthusiastically asking her what do you need? I would _________ for my friend. But for me to ask them?…I would be exposing my needs…I would be vulnerable…

Vulnerability

What does it mean to be vulnerable and why does our fear of it hold us back?

adjective

adjective: vulnerable

Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

"we were in a vulnerable position"   

synonyms: in danger, in peril, in jeopardy, at risk, endangered, unsafe, unprotected, unguarded

Also known as the Fetal position…lying supine, with your knees drawn to your chest, protecting yourself from the world

if you can pinpoint why and when you’re feeling vulnerable, you can also learn to accept it. Consequently, you may learn that there is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for help.

It’s Better to Receive…                                                                            

Why am I so reluctant to receive help, if I’m so willing to give it? I suggest that this is a problem within ourselves and not with our friends. I’m not a gambling woman but I would be willing to bet that 80% (8 out of 10 of your friends) would be willing to help you if you simply asked for it.

If you are feeling alone and helpless all you need do is pick up the phone or drop them an email and ASK for some help.

Not only during divorce is it important to give yourself permission to RECEIVE help, but during medical emergencies as well. Case in point, a friend of mine recently experienced a medical emergency. She was admitted to hospital with serious symptoms. What’s even scarier is that she waited to go because she thought she would be ‘okay’. A typical woman’s response being we don’t want to burden anyone, not even 911.  

The conversation my friends and I had after this was the reminder that we are all willing to help in these circumstances. If they couldn’t get a family member there immediately then we made a pact to rely on one another. Also, admitting that we are experiencing a serious health scare and not just something that is going to go away on its own allows us to accept medical help. Again, we make ourselves vulnerable when we admit we need medical attention immediately.

Once we accept our vulnerability…we can ask for help.

How to ask for help

  • Know exactly what you need,
  • be specific,
  • be gracious,
  • offer to reciprocate favors in the future (when you’re stronger)
  • be honest,
  • accept the help when it is offered.

Instead of waiting for a natural disaster, a medical emergency or the death of a loved one, reach out now. Overcome your vulnerability to ask for help. When that help is offered set aside your pride and accept it. Know that you are worthy of that helping hand. You would help them if they asked, so let them help you.   It’s your turn now and there is no shame in needing. You will be happier and healthier. Turn your mission impossible to POSSIBLE. Let your family and friends give you a hand out of that rabbit hole.

Read the sentences with the blanks and fill them in with your words. Share your words in the comments section…go for it….  FINE, I’ll go first…

My words; I was afraid of-looking stupid, friends and family would know-I couldn’t make ends meet, I would –clean their house

 Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability

 

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