Reaching out is a funny concept. Often people encourage it, while most struggle to do so when it really comes down to it. Although I have improved greatly in reaching out, I still at times battle myself in doing it. This last weekend I made a decision that has forced me to let go of all hang-ups and issues I had with reaching out for support.
I will be buckling down and getting my dissertation complete in much less time than I had anticipated. While this is exciting, it scares the hell out of me. It will be the most demanding project I will ever do. In knowing this, I began to feel the overwhelming pressure coming down on me. I even had a few minutes where I began to bargain with myself, even trying to get out of accomplishing something so important to me. When I calmed down, I recognized that I made this decision and quickly realized there is no way I can do this without the help of many.
So, I cried as I do when I feel this way and then told myself, I will need to ask for help. I started reaching out. I reached out to my husband. I reached out to my family. I reached out to my closest friends. I began to inform others that I may be less present in the months to come due to this decision. With each conversation, I cried more. Each person was incredibly supportive willing to help me carry this heavy load in whatever way they could. They offered to bring meals, to care for the dogs, to lend an ear if I need to scream, vent, and share proud moments of success. What I am reminded is that although it can be tough to reach out, to admit I need help, what I am often met with is unwavering support; a willingness to be along with me in what I am experiencing.
Reaching out can be challenging. Our world doesn’t exactly promote it. We are told to be independent, to do it all on our own. Yes, it is important to be able to care for ourselves, to be self sufficient, yet it is also important to realize when we cannot do it all on our own. It is ok to ask for help and support. The saying that always stands out to me is, “it takes a village to raise a child”, but really the same could be said for any person. It will take a village to help me survive this huge chapter in my life and I am ok with this. I feel incredibly fortunate to know that I have lots of people on my side so I can succeed.
Is there something you need help with? Can you find the courage to reach out? No matter what it is, a project, raising your child, making it through the next hour, please do not hesitate. Perhaps start creating a list of those you feel would be safe and dependable to ask for support. Then begin to go down the list and ask. Ultimately, know there is NO SHAME in asking for someone to help you carry your load.
Until next time,
Dr. Lily A. Zehner, MFT-C is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Denver where she helps others reach their fullest relational and sexual potential. To learn more about her and her services, please feel free to take a look around her website.