Popping in today to share my most recent startling discovery. Simple and life-changing.
First a confession: I haven’t been asking for what I want and need most. And not surprisingly, I haven’t been getting what I want and need most.
Until recently, I have been ignoring my needs and desires in order to get along with other people and to not to appear to be too much trouble. Turns out, I am a secret people pleaser (The HORROR!).
Because I haven’t been asking for or getting what I really need after lots of interactions with people, I felt exhausted and frazzled (serious introvert here) and sometimes resentful because why couldn’t my people see I was suffering?
Apparently, I have been a bit of a martyr as well despite how much I claim to hate that in others.
Well, I’m here to tell you I have changed my ways for the better. I’m hoping you can learn from my mistakes.
It all started when my mom died and I realized I couldn’t do this grief thing on my own. I need to accept the help that was being offered and to sit with myself and gently ask what I needed and then ask for help from those that had offered.
What an eye-opening experience!
People came through for me and helped me when I needed it most. So many people commented that they were so happy I was asking for help. They felt good for offering and having their offers accepted and I felt great knowing I was nurtured and nourished by those around me.
Since then I’ve been practicing asking for help on lots of things.
I say practice because that’s what it is for me, a practice.
You see, I have a really LOUD inner critic (think Merle Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada) who thinks I should be able to do everything on my own. Even things I have never done before and have no interest in becoming proficient in… which means I have been wasting a ton of time on figuring things out instead of just asking someone else to help.
I’m not against hard work, but I am decidedly against wasting time. And wasting generosity!
This not asking for help has really gotten in the way of my work, my parenting, my life – so this year I’ve decided to be courageous and ask for what I want and need most.
Sometimes that looks like delegating a task to someone else, sometimes that looks like sending a clarifying email instead of frantically searching a website for an answer myself and sometimes that looks like accepting offers when presented.
For example: On a recent trip to visit my folks in Minnesota which involved solo travel with my four year old and driving across the state (all still in a bit of a grief fog) – I decided to try something different this time.
I decided to ask for help.
Sure, I probably could have handled every detail for the trip on my own, done all the child-minding, nighttime parenting, socializing etc. But I feared it would leave me in a state of exhausted, anxiety-filled hell with a generous helping of resentment.
This time, I wanted to see if I could do it differently – connect with my family and still take care of my body, mind and spirit.
So I asked for help.
Days before we left, I sent my folks a simple text asking for help finding a rental car.
Within hours, it was handled.
We were off to a great start!
A couple of days later, after I had spent some time thinking about what kind of time I would need in order to do my daily self-care, I sent another text asking if someone could watch my daughter so I could get things done.
Moments later a reply: YES!
The practice of asking for what you want and most need starts with knowing what you want and most need. For me this required getting quiet and asking what would help make each situation better and then listening for the answer. Armed with that information, I could ask for and get the help I need.
Two books that have helped me better understand asking and receiving are:
The Power of Receiving by Amanda Owen
Playing Big by Tara Mohr
Oprah has it right when she said, “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
What about you, friend? What will you ask for?
With lots of self-kindness and love,
PS – If something in this (or any post) resonates with you and you think someone you know might like it too, please forward it to a friend.
Other posts you might enjoy:
Summer of Intentionality 2015: What I am reading, learning and doing