There is a reason that flight attendants on airplanes tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else. You can’t help anyone else for any sustained period of time unless you help yourself first. So many of us, especially women and girls, are taught that we’re expected to take care of others’ needs and wants before, or instead, of their own.
I internalized early on that my peace and lovability depended upon how happy others were with me. If they thought I was a good girl, a compassionate young woman, selflessly giving of herself to help people with their problems or needs, then I was loved and respected.
I didn’t realize at the time that this was an unconscious way of reinforcing for me that without toiling away for someone else, I was worthless. That is a terrible message to give anyone. And totally untrue Our worth and value is not contingent upon anything. It is inherent in our very existence.
Now, I offer help to others when it doesn’t take away from my own peace and sanity, and it makes me feel good. I realized that if helping others makes me feel good, then allowing them to help me will likely feel good to them as well. And I receive assistance That’s a Win. Win.
We must schedule self-care every day. And that can look like many things – a nap, quiet meditation for even 5 minutes, enjoying a quiet meal, exercise, yoga, walking, resting, doing something just for fun – like play, writing in a journal….
Whatever it is we need it to take good care of ourselves. We deserve it.
Asking for help. That’s a demon in and of itself. I’m very stubborn when it comes to asking for help. It’s complicated. Part of it is that I don’t want to inconvenience anyone else or give them more work to do, I don’t want to add more to their plates. I’m so overly empathetic that it inhibits me from asking for help, even from people who love me and would want to help me in any way they can.
The vulnerability of asking for help is also a problem for many, including me. I am very stubborn and have been disappointed too many times by people who I thought would be there for me, who were not actually willing to help. This taught me that I’m on my own and that if I have a problem, I must find a way to fix it myself. This behavior was learned as a kid and teenager when my own parents and others were not there for me. It is not easily unlearned as a grown-up, even now, when I have people in my life who are different and would be there. My husband frequently calls me out on this – when I resist asking him for help.
I am used to doing things myself and forget that I don’t have to all the time. Now, I have other options and help if I ask.
How do you feel about asking for help? What is triggered for you when you do?
Thank you, @LizandMollie for the Image.