After many years of self-reflection, I realize I have a big problem asking for help.
I also realize now that I need to put this long worn habit down on the side of the path and walk forward without it.
I have turned the lesson over and looked at the bottom of it. I have experimented with different types of need and different types of assistance. I have chewed on it, swallowed it, burped it back up, but have never been quite ready to spit it out.
I am ready to do that, and bless it for its long lessons, thank it for its service, explore its wisdom and let it go on its merry way.
I don’t exactly know when I adopted the idea that I had to suffer in silence.
I don’t know when I developed the mistaken understanding that people would think less of me if I asked for help.
Not sure where along the road I picked up the heavy idea that I was supposed to carry all my burdens along my path alone.
Are these ideas character building things? Am I a stronger being because I can carry more burdens?
Am I seen as a more evolved and powerful being because I can keep my pain to myself?
Is it more important to me that I not be seen as a complainer and a whiner than to ask for help when I truly need it?
Am I more evolved because I can suffer greatly and still put a smile on my face?
At the core of my being, do I feel that I do not deserve help, or that I will be rejected in my plea for assistance?
I got the chance to really explore this realm years ago when I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
The truth is, I probably did myself more harm than good keeping the ever increasing levels of pain to myself. I was a young mother, still working a full time job and taking care of a house, while actively infected with a spyrochete that coursed through my blood, after being deposited by a tick, boring deeply into my joints and bones.
At night, when I woke up to feed my baby, I would fall on the floor from the pain in my feet, and still I wouldn’t wake my husband up to help me. After all, he needed his sleep and I didn’t want to bother him.
Is it a mothering thing? To bear it all ourselves, even when in great pain, or holding grief or sorrow for the family or clan, in order to spare those we love from experiencing those things?
Eventually all my energy bled out of me, just like my life blood would have if I had been sliced by a knife. Pain will do that to you, as will other life struggles and wounds.
Just like the camel with that last straw before its spine breaks, I had allowed each straw to be piled on, and I suffered in silence while adjusting to the new weight. I know I am strong, and I know I can carry a lot, but the situation was unsustainable.
I could not go another step further when I exploded in a pile of tears, and I mean that literally. I could not walk. I could not sleep. I could not think. I was a mess.
The response I got from my outburst, at first, was incredulous surprise. No one knew how much I was suffering, and no one expected such an explosion.
It is important to tell the truth about how it is for us to those we love, because even though we may think deep down inside that they know, the truth is that they usually don’t.
Most people are too busy focusing on their own lives and their own trials and tribulations. They need for those folks who need help to give them a hint.
To keep our truth to ourselves is akin to telling a lie.
When we don’t share how it is for us, we don’t let others in, and we don’t give them the opportunity to love us and support us.
But at the time, I kept my situation to myself and blocked any support that would have helped me.
After all, I was strong. I could take it right?
That, of course, was my own fault. Had I shared what I was experiencing, which of course wasn’t normal, then I could have received comfort, assistance, and a much quicker medical diagnosis and treatment, which was actually quite difficult because all the typical diagnostic signs had long faded and the bacteria was deeply embedded in my body.
At this point, I had no choice but to ask for help, because I was incapable of functioning, and I had to rely on others heavily.
This wasn’t fair to them in a number of ways.
Many of us give deeply from the center of our soul, day in and day out, with no expectation of return. This is because we are natural givers, and supporters, and comforters, and lovers. We are at our peak of happiness and joy when we care, loving on and supporting others, either our friends and family or in service.
We bestow gifts, offer help, take on the burdens of others in order to lighten their loads, and we never think that this is an unbalanced situation.
Part of this has to do with the way society has long been set up. The good are in service to others. The good worker over produces. The good husband over delivers. The good parishioner over-tithes. The good student over prepares. The investment far outweighs the return, and we have all gotten used to it.
Whom does this serve? Certainly not the open-hearted who are in their element when serving.
We are connected to an unlimited well of energy, as beloved children of this universe we are supported in every moment, but unless we bless ourselves with some of that miraculous energy, we become drained.
My dear friend told me once that I was actually being selfish, and that shocked me to the core.
The one who gives so much and helps so much, and is always there for everyone?
Yes, she said. YOU.
When did I ever give anyone the opportunity to repay my kindness?
When did I ever give anyone the opportunity, as a friend, to help tote the load?
When did I ever let anyone know the tender, vulnerable, scary parts of my life?
When did I ever give anyone the chance to help me form a plan, or to simply listen to my struggles?
I didn’t let anyone know. I was addressing a challenge, and I was going to overcome it, because I was strong, and brave, and courageous, and all those other adjectives that seem so important.
That’s when I realized that another habit was holding me back. I was in the habit of thinking that if a challenge was to be overcome, I was going to do it. The universe, of course, delivered to me plenty of opportunity to test that energetic construct.
Hey, let’s go mountain climbing without a rope all by ourselves, just because we can! Yah!
The truth is, we all struggle. The truth is that we are all connected. The truth is that we can all be angels here on earth to help others who are in need.
As I understand it, Divine Principle states that we have free will choice as sovereign beings incarnate. The celestial realms must be asked for assistance in order to intervene in any way.
When I think about that principle, I am always reminded of the joke about the guy who asks God for a lottery win. He goes his whole life without one. When he gets to heaven, he curses God that he never blessed him with a win, and God says,
“You never bought a lottery ticket…”
The universe works in many mysterious ways, and we, as humans, incarnate many times as the agents and angels of assistance, but without the asking, no assistance can be given.
When we ask for help, we give others the opportunity to be angels and agents here on earth. We allow the blessings of the universe to flow to us through others. We allow the universe to bend over backwards and twist itself inside out to deliver its support to us.
The universe can do that way better than we can, I have found, because it has a lot more angels and agents of love than little old me.
These past few months I have been blessed to help others who are struggling deeply in the aftermath of the hurricanes. I have been blessed to help friends who were struggling with loss, illness, recuperation and emotional issues.
I have also blessed others by asking for help when I needed it, and the universe delivered amazing angels of assistance to come to my aid.
They helped me tremendously, and I am deeply grateful for their assistance. They didn’t do it because they felt obliged to. They didn’t do it because they were expected to. They didn’t do it because that’s what society expected them to do it.
They helped me because I had finally chewed the ‘struggle alone’ bone long enough to have gotten every last ounce of flavor out of it, and I spit it out.
They helped me because I asked, and I gave them the opportunity to support me because they wanted to.
This is balance. This is support. This is unity, and this is the way the universe works when we allow it to, simply by asking.
Written for Gaia Scenics’ View
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