help. A word with so many colors and connotations that it takes a lot of participation to identify and explain them all. For our purposes, let’s say that by “help,” I’m referring to what it means to seek professional help when you’re in pain, in crisis, or otherwise lost and don’t know where else to go. There are people who are afraid to ask for help.
In some cultures or families, it is considered sign of weakness Even fatal, to seek professional help – a sign that you are betraying your family secrets, or even worse, your family members. In some family systems, sacraments are considered “sacred” and should not be discussed among selected members.
In other cases, secrets are betrayed and boundaries violated. In those families, there is no safe space to share and there is no personal pain without our gossiping. In some families, there is a framework of busyness in these homes, everyone remains so energetic and productive that no one has a moment to breathe, let alone feel other emotions than “a speed bump.”
And in other families, there is only the allowance for achievement—the “best (and) man wins” mentality that leaves anyone with emotional pain to hide under covers or find an outside talent that makes them feel less alone, isolated, and in pain.
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No matter what family system you belong to, if you fall into any of the family archetypes listed above, you are very likely to face serious challenges seeking and/or receiving help.
A great friend of mine always says, “Blythe, the receiver is the advanced class.” And after years of working on my own challenges around asking for and allowing help, this finally made sense to me.
There is something universally sacred and spiritual in nature about putting a piece of one’s story – one’s life – in someone else’s proverbial arms and letting emotions and response land where they can. It is certainly a gift for the recipient, but in the end when it is in good professional hands, the gift is returned to the person who asks for help on the path to emotional freedom, clarity, and even peace.
I know this all sounds like I’m suggesting that one should just be able to go out and greet kindly, ask for help without any qualms or apprehensions, and then dive into that important step now, but I don’t think so at all. I think asking for help is difficult. If it were easier, we wouldn’t have so many wounded, broken-hearted people roaming our neighborhoods and workplaces.
We won’t have many people hurting others as a result of their unchecked wounds. We won’t have many people who feel isolated as if social media is their only source of human interaction.
What I do know is that there are people, probably like you, who are ready and willing to take the next step and get the help you’ve probably needed for so long. And if you fall into that category, but just need some guidance on how to go ahead and break your fears, you’ve come to the right place.
4 common concerns about seeking help:
1. Fear that my family and friends will discover that I am broken and will not love me anymore.
One common fear about asking for help is that those we love the most will discover that we are not perfect and somehow abandon us or fail to love us anymore.
While this is something that almost never happens, it’s a perfectly logical fear given the messages we’ve learned in our earlier years about asking for help. Many of us walk around with partial truths and half-masks – just showing certain parts of ourselves to certain people and swearing to avoid perceived rejection. How exhausting it is!
However, what many of us don’t think is that the people around us are probably walking around doing the same thing. The idea that it should be flawless is not only an unattainable idea but also a self-destructive one.