Walk into any kindergarten or first grade classroom at the beginning of the school year, and you will, at some point, hear teachers telling students, " I am here to help you. If you have a problem, ask me. I will always help you."
It felt good. Even now, I know it felt good to hear those words and know someone was always going to be there who I would be able to count on to offer assistance if I needed it. Actually, when I needed it. I just didn't know then that I would need help every so often throughout my entire life."You can't remember how to get from the classroom to the restroom?"
- Poor thing, let me help you! No worries. (Said with a sweet, patient smile on the face)
At some point the message started to change. Help was still available, but there was an expectation that, as we got a little older, we needed to learn to navigate some of those waters ourselves."You and your friend are having a disagreement? Don't hit. Use your words. Ask for help if you can't solve the problem yourself. Or maybe you need to schedule an appointment with the counselor?"
- The counselor! Wow. Is that, like, ok? Is that a bad thing or a good thing? (No response.)
And then, somewhere along the way, the message started to change even more. We were expected to do it on our own.
"You're old enough to learn how to solve your problems on your own. Figure it out."
Huh? Where did the help go?
That message of "figure it out on your own" got enlarged for some of us. Somehow, we received the message that we should be able to solve all our problems by ourselves. Or, that we shouldn't have any problems at all. Or, if we had problems, we should never admit it. Having problems was a sign of weakness, and we sure didn't want anyone thinking we were weak!
Well, I stand firm in telling anyone who will listen that we all need help at one time or another. Asking for help is not a weakness. And the kindest thing we can do for ourselves, and for each other, is to ask for it.Where can you look for assistance? There are many places, if only you open your heart and mind to the possibilities:
- Create your own caring community. Offer to help your friends, and the parents of your children's friends, with childcare, meals during stressful times, picking up last minute items from the grocery store, or an ear for listening. These people will soon be offering you the same.
- Make yourself aware of community resources that assist with food pantries, job placement services, shelters, health clinics, and other personal or medical services. These organizations are there to offer assistance and are waiting to help you!
- Become a volunteer at your school, your place or worship, a hospital, or other community service organization. This will help you make friends, will expand your circle of acquaintances, and will place you among others with a giving heart who are open to new possibilities.
- If someone asked you for help, would you be mad that they asked you, or would you feel good that they knew they could count on you?
- If someone you cared for was in any type of difficult situation, would you want him to suffer in silence? Or would you want him to get help to end the suffering?
No matter the reason you need it, there is no shame in asking for help.
Ask for it. You, and your family, deserve it.
Ask for help.
Dr.Wolbe can be contacted via her website at www.drsusiewolbe.com.