This past week I was summoned for jury duty. My husband was out of town. I had called in to the jury duty line four times and had been put on standby four times, so I thought I was going to be dismissed—and then I wasn't. At 6 p.m. the night before, I found out I had to appear at 7:30 a.m. the next morning. But I had a yoga class to teach at 8 a.m. and my son had to be at school immediately after. Neither my parents nor in-laws live in town and I was pretty sure that I was not going to be able to clone myself.
So I sat. And I stewed. And I got a bit teary out of frustration. And then I asked for help. And, of course, two of my friends were more than happy to help. Their son and mine are best buds and their perspective was: "Wouldn't it be great to hang out before going to school?"
Disaster averted! But I still felt uneasy...
Although I know better, my initial reaction to having to ask for help is: "I should be able to do this on my own." That ugly word "should." Ugh. The other one? "I don't want to be a 'burden.'" Double ugh. Yet after I was done talking with my friends, I thought: "That was so easy. Why do I torture myself before picking up the phone?" I mean, if the tables were turned, I would certainly help out—no question.
But I know I'm not the only one who sometimes feels this way. Are there areas where you need help or support but aren't asking for it?
Consider jotting the answers down in a journal. You are going to want it and it's super helpful when you want to come back to revisit questions and answers.
1. Is there an area of your life where you are in need of support or help?
This could be big or small like folding laundry, picking up dog poop, leaving a marriage, or quitting an addiction.
2. Why are you unable to ask for that help or support?
Is it because you think you should be able to do it all? Because asking would make you weak or vulnerable? Are you fearful that when you ask, you might be told "no" or be rejected?
3. Close your eyes (just do it) and imagine asking for help in the particular situation that you are thinking of. How does it feel?
What sensations are you feeling in your gut and in your heart when you ask for that help? Keep your worried inner voice out of this.
4. Think of the times where you were asked to help and asked for support: What did that feel like in your heart and your soul?
Chances are this is how others feel when you ask for help as well. See? It's not so bad.
5. Who can you ask for help or support?
Identify your inner circle and the people who you can depend on when you need assistance. This will provide comfort and show you how supported you are.
When we ask for help, we open ourselves up to receive. We allow others to be of service and open their hearts up to giving. We cannot know everything—even though we want to! But what we can know is there is an abundance of help all around us. When we allow ourselves to ask, to be vulnerable, and to be open-hearted, we will be more aware of that abundance.
So ask for help. Reach out. Pick up the phone. You will never know the deepened friendships, relationships, or community if you never ask. Most importantly, you will never know the personal growth and freedom that comes with just asking for what you need.