I’m seeing my counselor today.
My original plan was to wait a few weeks before blogging about it. But this morning, I’m asking myself: Why wait?
- So I’ll know how it turns out before writing about it?
- So I can seem vulnerable…without actually being vulnerable?
- So I can fake authentic?
Why do I feel such a need for control?
One word: SHAME.
Shame and Silence
I grew up hearing my mother say, “Some things ought not be spoken.”
Although it was an unwritten list, I knew it by heart.
And I knew that “needing help” and (gasp!) “asking for help” were most definitely on The List.
Because, of course, needing help and (gasp!) asking for help might be interpreted to mean that we weren’t perfect.
That we were (the horror! the horror!) failures.
So, I kept quiet.
About so many “things.”
Things that, it turns out, make all the difference between love and pretense.
And ultimately, between life and death.
What Asking for Help Does NOT Mean
This morning, I choose love and life as I remind myself that asking for help does NOT mean:
1) …that I am a failure.
I may be in the midst of failing. But failing does not make me “a failure.” It just means I’m human.
2) …that I’m lazy (and should “just try harder”).
I may be trying harder than I’ve ever tried in my life. But I may be doing the wrong thing or doing the right thing the wrong way. Both of which mean that “trying harder” will only make things worse…faster.
3) …that I’m stupid or incompetent.
No matter how smart or capable I may be in some areas, there’s so much more I don’t know and so many more skills I don’t have. (Believing that I should “know it all” and be able to “do it all” is pride, pure and simple.)
What Asking for Help DOES Mean
This morning, I choose love and life as I remind myself that asking for help DOES mean:
1) …that I am learning.
Trying and failing means I am learning. On this planet, failure is a key part of the learning process.
2) …that I value myself.
Refusing to “just try harder” once I recognize that I’m doing the wrong thing, or the right thing the wrong way, is a sign of self-respect.
3) …that I am teachable.
Rejecting the idea that I “should already know ______” or “should just naturally be able to ____” is an act of self-compassion.
4) …that I value others’ input.
Welcoming others’ experience-borne expertise demonstrates trust, humility, and receptivity.
5) …that I choose not to do life alone.
Recognizing that I need other people reflects acceptance of God’s plan for me to live in community.
Help = Lose + Love + Live
This year, I’m living by three guiding principles:
- Lose who you’re not.
- Love who you are.
- Live your one life well.
Seeing my counselor today will help me do all three.
Lose Who You’re Not
I’m struggling with a new situation that’s trying to drag me back toward some old habits. I’m being tempted to pick up old tools that broke several years ago (and never really worked anyway).
But I’m not that woman any more.
I refuse to go back.
I’m asking for help to make sure I don’t.
Love Who You Are
In this new situation, I’m not sure how to be my best self. Should I speak up or stay quiet? Should I take action or wait?
I want to live as God’s masterpiece even in the midst of difficulty.
I want to honor Him by being 100% me.
I’m asking for help so I can be.
Live Your One Life Well
The many people involved in this new situation each have their own agendas. People-Pleasing is desperately trying to get me to tap-dance to everyone else’s tunes, to live a few hundred hypothetical lives.
God has given me one life.
I want to live in the center of His will.
I’m asking for help to make sure I do.
Risk is the New Safe
I keep going back to my opening line, trying to find a safer way to say, “I’m seeing my counselor today.”
What feels “safer” often isn’t.
Maybe today you, too, need to know that it’s okay to ask for help.
Or maybe someone you know needs to know.
Either way, it’s worth the risk.
I’d far rather be this kind of safe than sorry.