“I almost just spit my wine out,” she giggled on the other end of the line.
“You seriously have someone do your laundry and organize your sh*t? How hard can it be?”
This casual phone catch-up with my longtime friend took a sudden shift; I could feel the anxiety rise from my stomach, my heartbeat felt like it tripled in two seconds, and I imagine my face turned red, not from embarrassment. But from anger.
My many years of overgiving and having no boundaries have taught me that anger is a signal to create stronger boundaries. I wanted to respond, but the words weren’t formulating. I was frozen by judgment.
She continued to laugh, and when I wasn’t responding, she spoke up with a slight hesitation in her voice, “Gina…are you there?”
The butterfly effect of anxiety still sat in my stomach, and I could feel the heat come off of my phone screen onto my cheek. I was tempted to hang up.
“Hello?” she said once more.
I finally responded, “I am here, and I am going to hang up because I don’t want to lash out. That comment was offensive to me.”
In that short response, I felt the feeling in my body shift from anxious to wanting to poop my pants. I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth in an attempt to stand up for myself. I was scared but proud.
She responded with blabber; the words came across like an audible scrabble board regurgitated in my ear. I wasn’t grasping anything she was saying.
I was past the point of feeling judged, and I needed to hang up. So I did.
Two weeks went by before I responded to any of her several texts or emails filled with insincere apologies and her explanations of how she was “just surprised” that I would have so much help because I am childless and work for myself. Because I could make my schedule, she thought that I could take care of my home accordingly.
She couldn’t understand why I would need help with laundry and cleaning. She has four kids, and I have two stepkids, one who is never around, and one who comes and goes 50 percent of the time. She wanted me to understand that she didn’t mean to be offensive; she affirmed that she was laughing with me and not at me.
I sat with this for some time.
First off, laughter-filled friendships are life; having bellyaching laughs to the point of short breath is beautiful. But when it comes to helping one another, asking for help, and taking care of ourselves and our mental well-being, none of it is laughable.
It took me years to ask for help because I questioned myself in the same way. Why would I pay for help when I don’t have bio kids to care for, I create my schedule, am a good multitasker, and am a get-sh*t-done gal?!
I kept asking myself that for years instead of asking for the help I was craving.
I continued to push myself—clean, do the laundry when it would pile up, cook whatever food was in our fridge and would often miss out on my necessary veggie count, try to support my husband with his needs and his kids when they were open to it.
In addition, I did everything by myself in my business—self-taught marketing, systems, processes, learned how to do all the backend stuff, and still saw clients every day in one-on-one sessions.
Life worked. Ish. But nothing ever felt complete nor easy.
And at the end of the day, I was exhausted. But I still wouldn’t ask for help because I “should” be able to do this on my own like everyone else, right? This is what I signed up for, right? This is what we just do, right?
While that is what the messaging in my mind was saying, my body had a different message.
It showed in my stress levels, thyroid test, and blood work.
It was too much.
So I asked for help, which was challenging to ask for without feeling guilty or wasteful.
It took me years to dig deep and value myself enough to hire super talented people who do a fantastic job at their service. It took me a long time to realize I needed to do whatever was necessary for my body and that I needed to come first.
Whether it is society or old family patterns, many of us are conditioned to believe we can and should do it all.
Here are three reasons I will forever keep the help it took me to courageously ask for. May they inspire you to stop trying to do it all yourself.
1. Asking for help blesses others.
From my perspective, I don’t “have someone do my laundry, clean my house, or take the dogs” for me. I see it as me investing and hiring talented service providers. It is part of what they do well; their services bless me, and the income blesses them.
I hire an amazing woman who provides an impeccably clean service for our home in that she comes in and helps me clean biweekly. She has a team that relies on her for their livelihood and a family she supports.
I invest in a meticulous organizer who provides service to help with laundry. She is a single mom who appreciates the added income.
I invest in an excellent company that takes the dogs for me once a week It is their sole income.
2. Asking for help allows me to show up 110 percent versus 75 percent.
I used to feel like I would put a little energy into many things to get it all done versus focusing on one task at hand really well. For example, I’d take the dogs on a walk with the intent of all of us getting exercise, but would end up frustrated. I called it a “sniff” because they’d stop every five steps, and it did nothing for my heart rate.
Because I have a busy practice, I didn’t have the time to take them for a walk in addition to getting a sweat session in. I would walk them around the neighborhood, yanking their leash like a crazy person, which wasn’t enjoyable for either of us.
Sending them to play care once a week, not only ensures they get ample run-around time, I have more exercise time, and one day a week, I have silence to record videos and meditations without their barking.
3. Asking for help is exercising good balance, which is necessary.
We are designed to both give and receive. If we only ever give, we quickly become emotionally and mentally drained and out of balance.
If we only give and never receive, our to-do list overflows. We feel overwhelmed and leave no time for ourselves. We can’t give from an empty cup.
When we are out of balance, we are typically disconnected from the body or just refusing to listen to it. We can end up feeling out of harmony with our community, our world, and ourselves. Ultimately, it can also overwhelm our nervous system, and put our health at risk.
It took me a damn long time to be able to invest in myself this way. Even after I did, for a while, it came with guilt.
After seeing how my physical and mental health has improved and how much easier life is, it’s not something to laugh about, whether with me or at me. It is something to celebrate.
If it is asking for help with cleaning, laundry, dogs, kids, food prep, or something else may this inspire the ask. I will always celebrate that.
I would love to hear from you in the comments; where could you benefit from asking for help?