Sometimes finding support can be so simple, you wonder afterwards why you waited so long to seek it…
I started attending the Walsenburg Women’s Growing Circle a couple weeks ago. This is a warm and friendly sharing group with emotional support and some guided meditation. That then opened up a great new opportunity in Helen’s tough but wonderful yoga class at the Washington Underground. I find the women in this group and my new class so much more warm and welcoming than those I have spent the past few years with in a La Veta class. I find that I often made some of my best friends in exercise classes, and it looks like this class will be no exception. So I feel so much more optimistic about solving my two main problems here: a great environment for balance and strengthening exercises, and making new friends.
This brought up again a problem I have always had, asking for help from others. This issue is magnified five hundred percent in the new memoir: Educated. She also suffered from an extreme fear of asking for help, to the point of not even asking for medical assistance with a broken ankle. I would say I spent the first few years of counseling in my thirties working on my fear of asking for assistance from anyone.
So, you might ask, what’s the big deal about just asking. When we ask for help we make ourselves vulnerable. When I was a young woman, there was no feeling I hated more than feeling vulnerable. The times I had made myself vulnerable had been so painful and disappointing. I certainly wasn’t willing to trust enough to ask again. Just the act of going to a counselor for help took me until my early thirties, even though I liked the idea of it and desperately needed it. Note the paragraph or so in Educated: A Memoir, where Tara finally tells her story to a woman at the university counseling center:
“I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now, but there was something nourishing in setting aside that time each week, in the act of admitting that I needed something I could not provide for myself.” — pg. 316
7 thoughts on “Asking for help. How do we learn to let in positive support and encouragement?”
Great post and great advice. I almost made the decision to go solo at 46 because I was just fed up with looking and hoping. Serendipity led me to keep my dating profile up and message this guy… who is now my husband 🙂
That’s great Jae! I also found my husband 14 years ago through Match, and I’m so glad I did! Happy to have someone I can ALWAYS count on to understand me and care.
I’m lucky. I never hesitate to ask for help, and I try to offer it whenever I can. I think that comes from being a caregiver most of my life.
I was inspired to visit by Sightings Over Sixty. I have always been independent minded and reluctant to accept help if offered let along ask for it. After all, I am the helper, not the helpee. However, recently I was in a position where I simply had to admit I needed help. And my friend thanked me for asking for her help! I could see she was genuinely pleased to be able to help and I realized it can be a gift to another to accept her help.
Great Olga! I forgot to mention in my piece that I did my counseling internship in a rehab facility and wrote my MA thesis on how aging teaches us that sooner or later we WILL NEED TO ASK FOR HELP! We might as well get used to it…
such tough challenge for so many-thanks for the post
I just finished texting a friend to ask if she could take and pick me up next week for my colonoscopy/endoscopy. While I don’t have a problem asking… I’m glad I don’t have to do it very often.