It's such a simple thing.
Just ask for help.
But simple is not the same as easy.
Somehow, many of us have come to the conclusion that asking for help is a sign of weakness. We should be able to figure it out for ourselves, and if we can't, we sure as hell don't want anyone to know. The thing is, the longer we wait to ask for the help, the more help we need. The more help we need, the harder it is to ask for help. The harder it is to ask for help, the less likely we are to ask. The less likely we are to ask, the more help we need. V.I.C.I.O.U.S. Cycle.
As I see it, there are three types of help.
Level 1: Preventative Care
Help before we need it.
- Changing the oil in our cars every 3000 miles
- Putting on a life jacket before leaving the dock
- Regular medical and dental check-ups
- Building relationships of trust and respect with colleagues at work. Even the ones who drive us crazy. Especially the ones who drive us crazy
- Enlisting the help of experts at the front end of almost anything... parenting, investing, or becoming a pet owner
- Telling our partner what we need, rather than expecting them to figure it out
- Getting a therapist before a crisis hits
Level 2: Roadside Assistance
Help when the unexpected occurs.
- Getting our car into the shop when we first hear that weird knocking noise
- Calling for the coast guard when our boat engine dies
- Making an appointment when we first find that suspicious lump
- Having a conversation with a co-worker to clear the air
- Enlisting someone who can coach us through whatever is going on with our children, our money, or our dog.
- Staying in the conversation with our partner rather than pulling away
- Scheduling a meeting with our therapist, sooner rather than later
Level 3: 911
Help in an emergency
- Dialing 911 when our car is on fire
- Sending a flare up when the boat has capsized
- Dialing 911 when the pain hits our chest
- Meeting with our HR department to stop the bleeding
- Finding an expert help for our children, hire a financial advisor, or send our dog to a trainer
- Investing in couples therapy or an intensive relationship retreat or both
- Calling our therapist. Now.
I don't know about you, but I continue to get by with a little help from my friends...and my mechanic, my dentist, my doctor, my colleagues, my husband. Oh, and my therapist.