Asking for help, an anecdote

Sometimes, we find ourselves in an emotional ditch, and we need to breathe for a minute, drink a glass of water, take a walk around the block, and pull ourselves out of it.

Not everything is a “bootstraps” situation, so sometimes when we find ourselves in an emotional ditch, we need to ask for help.

In a culture that wasn’t so stringently independence-focused, I think we’d not need to ask as often because the help would already be there. Of course, a culture that’s stringently community-based isn’t going to help, either. The middle ground, as nearly always, would be ideal.

That’s not us. Culturally, we enthusiastically and pretentiously avoid shades of grey.

I’ve been leaning more than usual on one or two people and decided that on this day, I was going to give them the day off and look elsewhere. I took to social media.

Image is text that reads, "I am struggling, and so I shamelessly make this request. Pay me a compliment. The more oddly specific (but sincere) the better. And then go find someone else and give them one, too."

In response, I received some beautiful comments touching on a variety of oddly specific things. (Oddly specific is delightful.)

Most of them were things that I knew people liked or admired about me, even if I hadn’t known them from the specific people who wrote them. Knowing them already didn’t dilute hearing (or reading) them.

A couple of them reflected small shifts in people which is always exciting. (Truly—I love it when people start to change themselves for the better. One of my favorite things to witness. Love but don’t require being part of it.)

And a couple of them reflected me back to me in a way that I hadn’t seen me. Not at odds with my self-concept—simply previously invisible.

What a gift, to be given those little gems.

This exercise did help me move through that moment and it gave me more bits to add to my folder of nice things. 

If you don’t have a folder of nice things—whether physical or electronic—I highly recommend starting one (or one of each). It’s a great go-to place when you’re feeling less than baseline, a tool in the “help yourself” part of life.

Also, you don’t have to wait for someone to ask before offering them a gem about themselves. Take a minute and offer one to someone. Take 10 minutes and shoot off a handful of texts or emails, or make a phone call. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s uncomfortable. So?

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