Recently I was a part of a sharing circle for women who are struggling with trauma and addiction issues. One of the tools we discussed was "asking for help". Most of us agreed that asking for help is anathema. Too hard, feels gross, forget it I'm not doing it.
It's not easy for a person who has been hurt to ask for help because the fear of rejection is huge. Our trust issues can keep us from doing the one thing that will bring us relief. Saying "I need help" is probably the fastest way to change the situation but also the most terrifying.
When I was in high school I was directing a play and needed to move a set piece onto the stage. It was way bigger than I could handle but did I need help? Help no! I hauled it and pushed it and nearly broke my back moving it to where I needed it to go. Success! But wait. Oh no! In the process I had scraped the heck out of the stage floor.
Our drama teacher came before the class and asked the person responsible for the damage to step forward. No one did. I wrestled with the guilt. Finally, I went to him and confessed. He was very forgiving, probably because I'd stepped forward to tell the truth. He'd wanted to know why I hadn't just asked someone to help me move the damn thing?
Good question. If the thought occurred to me at the time I don't remember. Likely I didn't want to bother anyone (people-pleaser), or I was afraid of appearing weak (ego-driven) or I simply thought I could do it alone (false pride). Regardless, I ruined the floor and learned a good (hard) lesson.
One of the gals in the sharing circle who had been through extreme trauma in the form of sexual abuse volunteered to share her feelings with the group. She opened up, probably for the first time, and told us what she was going through. Lots of fear, anger and shame came up but lots of hurt, too, and great sadness. Although she didn't actually say, "I need help," she was, in a way, asking for it just by telling us what was in her heart.
That's where it begins. Telling the truth about ourselves from our hearts. This is how I'm really doing. This is how I really am. Will you help me? From there asking for help to move the furniture becomes second nature.
Inspiring Message of the Day: I will practice telling the truth about myself from my heart. I will practice asking for help when I need it.