An ode to asking for help
By our resident coach, Arti Kashyap-Aynsley, aka The Wellness Chief
Real queens fix each other’s crowns
As you scroll through Instagram, Pinterest, Google and other platforms alike for “female focused” quotes, it is amazing how the quotes that come up all centre on this idea of females being go-getters, independent, having the capacity to do it all and anything that pretty much ties to this idea of female empowerment – none of which I am against.
However in looking through the quotes I wonder if this drive, motivation and push to be all these amazing things, puts us in a place as females of utter shame, embarrassment and despair when we come to points in time in our life where we need help, support, a good shoulder to cry on, and / or anything that makes us feel like we aren’t on these isolated independent journey’s all the time.
I mean how often are you able to just ask for help in advance of it feeling like a scream and how comfortable and okay do you feel with having to do it? Do you feel shame or guilt for needing and / or expecting support around you?
To start off the honest thinking and responses, I will be the first to put up my hand and say that I feel so proud to be an independent female go-getter on a mission to change, empower and fix the world. I am so good at keeping busy, having a lot on and striving for more. But what I am horrible at is asking for help. For one I feel like I never want to appear weak as though I am unable to handle the things on my plate, two I am afraid of being judged for all the things that come out of my mouth when I do get to the stage of being “needy”, three sometimes I am just not sure anyone can provide me with what I need, so I just feel like asking would be pointless and four half the time I am not sure who I can really ask, its as though I feel like people have gotten so used to me being good at being independent that they don’t need to be around, so when I do muster up the courage to ask I feel as though people aren’t sure how to respond.
But this can’t be “normal” or “okay” or for that matter good for me, my sanity, my mental health and the whole entire female empowerment movement. Are we not all better when we come together and as the opening quote says fix each other’s crowns?
So how do we do it? How do we get over the idea of looking weak and instead embrace the okayness that comes with just being honest about what we need?
If I were to ask my husband, his matter of fact response would be "Just take a can of man-up juice and do it”, and while there are so many things wrong with the statement in itself, there is a sense of realness behind it, that I quite like. Which is actually the reality behind the feeling.
IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY, TO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU CAN COPE, LIKE YOU NEED SUPPORT AND LIKE YOU COULD BE HANGING ON BY A THREAD AND TO THEREFORE THAN ASK AND GO AFTER WHAT YOU NEED FOR SUPPORT.
And so, the first step is facing yourself in the mirror head on and admitting just that as you look yourself dead in the eyes – which is half the battle.
Than what? You have managed to get yourself to a mirror, screamed, cried and admitted all the things you need to. It has felt therapeutic on all levels, but the reality is you need to move forward, but how?
Let’s start with thinking about what the ideal situation looks like and I don’t mean quick fixes, I mean long term wins – what will make your situation better, what is it you need ideally as support, that will help you get by over the next period that you have defined? I am really big on focusing on the long term, because it is so easy in the short term to think about things like a weekend away, one good night’s sleep, etc. But it doesn’t stop the cycles we go through from happening. So the most ideal way to really look at everything is to stop and think – for the next period of time what does ideal look like for me. And as a result of that what support is going to help me? And how am I going to get that support? Who do I need to ask and / or lean on?
As you give yourself space to really think about the responses to these questions, also allow yourself the ability to think about the who and what you need to therefore surround yourself with as a result. “Your tribe” so to speak is vital and sometimes way more vital than we give it credit for.
I once heard someone say that you can tell the impact someone has on you when you analyse how you feel as you walk away. Do you feel positive, light, motivated, empowered, loved? Or do you feel drained, down, exhausted, negative? Only you can answer the questions, but in thinking about what you need considering them is equally as important as the mechanisms you define.
So, now what?
You have asked yourself the questions you need to, you have pondered your responses, mapped out what it should / could look like and thought about who to surround yourself with. So, the next thing really is to take action, to go after the support you need boldly, unapologetically, without fear, worry or judgement and with the understanding of it being okay to be where you are.
I know it isn’t easy and actually can feel like a massive blow to your confidence and ego, but the truth of the matter is that asking for and needing support is perfectly okay and actually a huge sign of your self-awareness, courage and bravery, all of which should be celebrated.
So as I bring this weeks' column to a close, I will openly admit that I likely need to swallow a teaspoon of my own advice. And so alongside this community I will walk boldly into this week and the start of November knowing that it is okay to not be okay and will therefore muster up the courage that I have to ask for the support I need from the tribe that ticks all those positivity boxes above.
Thank you once again for letting me share this space and community with you. As always, I am keen to keep these posts and my role for ladies who launch supportive, interesting and fluid, so would love to hear what is on your mind, what is going on and what questions you could be grappling with. Please feel free to reach out directly to me either on the socials or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org, with anything on your mind.
Have a blessed week
Arti aka. The Wellness Chief xx