I was the kid who could always have discussions with adults. In fact, sometimes I felt like I fit in more at the adult table at family gatherings than in with my cousins.
I was the oldest child. I experienced some childhood trauma. I grew up fast.
It created a work ethic and a belief in myself, which I’m grateful for. But it also created this belief that I need to suck it up, get it together, and power through on my own.
This is painful.
I recently had a client say, “We’ve been working together for over a year, shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own?” And my sense is that she has this over-independence too.
You might have learned as a child that it’s not safe, either physically or emotionally, to ask for help.
And at that time, it likely was true. As a child, you couldn’t move out or help your parents and caregivers heal so they could be more grounded and loving with you.
You had to make it work. You learned to get it together, do it alone.
But doing it all myself was EXHAUSTING. At age 24, I didn’t feel like I deserved to see a mental health professional. I was trying to do it all on my own, and I burnt out.
This is a common cycle for those of us who are over-independent. You do it all alone, you get exhausted, you collapse and you take time to recover, and then you do it all alone again.
The good news is at ANY POINT you can break this cycle by asking for help.
Now if you’ve been entrenched in this cycle you might tell me all the reasons you can’t ask for help:
- No one can do a good of a job as you can
- You don’t deserve it
- There’s no one you can ask
And if you look into each of these reasons more closely, you’ll see that none of them are unequivocally true.
Here are some baby steps you can take:
- If you wake up feeling heavy one morning, text a friend who you trust to say that you woke up feeling heavy. Even if your friend doesn’t text back for a little bit you’ll feel relief knowing that you don’t have to hold this emotion alone.
- If you have too much on your plate at work, talk to your supervisor or a coworker, to brainstorm solutions.
- On a hard day, consider ordering in.
- Consider hiring a housekeeper or an assistant.
The more you build the “asking for help” muscle, the stronger it’ll get and the less overwhelmed you’ll feel :).
Now, reading this is great but the real change comes by putting it into action. What’s one small step you can commit to that’ll begin breaking the cycle?
And this is the exact work I do with my clients, so if you’d like help building a life where you’re less exhausted and you have more support than you ever believed was possible, let’s talk. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll hop on a free one-hour consultation.
Take the best possible care,