in: Mindful Moment

Mindful Moment #54 – Help Wanted?

Take a deep breath
Help Wanted?
I have a hard time asking for help. I don’t know if it is being the eldest child in my family, or if being a GenX latchkey kid just innately made me stubbornly independent. Maybe I have some undiagnosed neuro-spiciness that shackles me to a “this is how I want it done” mentality, while also procrastinating about doing those tasks I want done *just so.* Maybe I got it from my mom, who not only took care of all household chores while also managing the schedules of two children, but also volunteered at church and had a full-time, demanding job.
But even outside of chores, asking for help for something as simple as directions to the bathroom in an unfamiliar restaurant is not something I want to do. I will just figure it out. In any variety of situations where I clearly need help (or could certainly benefit from assistance), I just keep struggling and striving toward completion, no matter how sleep-deprived, anxious, or insufferable it makes me.
I also have the closely related problem of not being able to accept help. Occasionally, there will be a helpful soul who just decides to pitch in with a chore that needs doing. My instant reaction is, “you don’t have to do that.” I feel guilty that I can’t do it all, which follows on with shame. One such helpful soul told me not long ago, “Well, when someone wants to help as a way of showing their appreciation, you can just accept it for what it is.”
I had a flashback in that moment to my aunts chasing my grandmother out of the kitchen after we’d eaten the glorious Thanksgiving dinner she had made. They sent her away with a fresh glass of iced tea to go sit somewhere she could put her feet up. Granny would ask, “Are you sure?” And they’d all say, “Yes, mother.” And between the five of them, the leftovers would be put away, the dishes would be washed and dried, the counter tops were wiped down, and the floor was swept. They’d put coffee on to brew to have with the forthcoming dessert. Granny was far more gracious about accepting help in the kitchen than I was, but I did accept the help that day.
While I am reluctant to receive help, I am not reluctant to offer help. If I see you in a tight spot or struggling with something (as long as it’s not getting a couch into the back of a windowless van), I’m going to offer to help. I will let you decline, of course, but if you really seem like you are at a breaking point, I might just pitch in out of kindness. It can be surprising when you meet someone else who is just as hyper-independent as you are, or worse. I recently had to just back away slowly from an offer extended when it was met with a vitriolic “no!” A bit uncalled for, I thought, but hey…I practiced that whole extending grace concept from last week and let it go.
In our age of information, social media has let me know that hyper-independence is a symptom of trauma and is often tied to trust issues and/or having a childhood that essentially trained you to be a self-sufficient dynamo. Without going into full confession mode, I can see how that correlates for me and a lot of people I know.
So, maybe it’s time to cut myself some slack. Maybe it’s time to recognize those who are trustworthy and ask for help when I am feeling overwhelmed. Maybe it’s time to accept that I shouldn’t expect myself to do everything for everyone all the time. And maybe, in cases where I need help with something that no one I know can help with, I need to call a professional. Easier said than done, I know.
For now, anyway, let’s work on the concepts of asking for and receiving help.
Sit down and get comfortable. Relax your shoulders, soften your jaw, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply, filling your chest and your belly, hold it for a count of five, and release. Repeat at least three times.
I want you to think back to a time when you really needed some help, but you didn’t ask for any. How did that situation turn out? What was most frustrating about it? What, if anything, was positive about doing it alone?
Now, think of a time when someone helped you without needing to be asked. How did it make you feel when you received help?
Lastly, think of a time when you helped someone, either because you were asked to, or because you were able to see that they needed help. How did it make you feel to give of yourself in that way?
As you let those memories fade away, consider these affirmations:
I am worthy of assistance.
I am still capable, even when I need help.
Utilizing teamwork is valid.
Giving of myself is rewarding.
Receiving assistance can be a relief.
Giving and receiving assistance is an extension of love.
I can create and deserve trusting relationships.
I am safe to open my heart to trusted friends and family.
When you are ready, consider writing any of the thoughts or ideas you had while practicing this mediation.
As for myself, it’s been quite a few decades of operating like this, but I know it will be a relief to just be able to ask for help when I need it and accept it when offered.
As always, friends,
Amy Barth-Morales


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  2. How menopause reshapes the brainResearchers are starting to learn how the early stages of menopause affect brain health — and what that could mean for treatment.

That’s all for today, y’all – remember, taking time to focus on you is an act of love.

We hope you found this helpful – don’t hesitate to reply with any feedback on how we can improve future Mindful Moments! We can’t wait to hear from you.


See you next time! 


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