Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Even more so when it comes to needing help with your mental health and emotional wellbeing?
I still do, even with my skill set.
There’s a multitude of reasons as to why this is difficult, but it occurred to me today that now, in the midst of this pandemic, is a prime time to start practicing. Not only because we probably need to when living in such turbulent and restrictive times, but also because right now we have banded together as a community again, in ways we haven’t seen for a long time. Most people are much more open to being supportive and considerate and helpful right now than they may have been in their previous “busy” lives.
So, let’s use that to our advantage and practice asking for help in this time and situation where we are more likely to receive a positive outcome.
Having a positive outcome here is incredibly healing for all of us, but especially for those of us who had difficult childhoods where our needs and wants may have been dismissed, invalidated, criticised, ignored, ridiculed, or resulted in punishment or harm.
It may be difficult to get started and, just like learning to ride a bike, there’s going to be some wobbles here and there but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
Here’s some tips for how to ask for help:
– Choose your helpers wisely. If your potential helper has a history of using guilt and obligation to manipulate you or has a history of saying yes but then consistently lets you down, seek out a different helper. Help given reluctantly and with strings creates a debt. Help given freely and with joy is a gift.
– Be specific about what you need help with
e.g., I’m feeling really strung out after home schooling the kids all day, would you mind cooking dinner tonight while I take some time to do [insert effective coping strategy]?
I’m having a really hard time with isolation because I live alone, could we have a virtual cuppa/dinner together once a week please?
– If you know what strategies help you, inform your helpers of this beforehand
e.g., I’ve been struggling with panic attacks recently and I wondered if you could be a safe person that I can call to help me in those moments please? All I need is for for you to be present with me and remind me that I’m safe and to breathe into my belly.
You might be surprised to learn that sharing your struggles and asking for support from people you trust can actually strengthen your relationship as vulnerability is a pathway to developing deeper connections with each other.
Plus, helping others generally makes us feel good! It gives us a chance to see our own “effectiveness”, that we can indeed be a positive and helpful influence on someone else’s wellbeing.
Wouldn’t that be nice if we felt better from receiving help and our helpers felt good about giving help too?!
Big love to you all,