In addition to my private self-care coaching group, I also ran a local blogger group where I tried to support women in my community as they grow their blogs. I had started out hosting monthly meet-ups, posting informative links, and encouraging brag days where we talked about our progress.
But then in 2016 I launched my self-care subscription box and the group has all but turned to shit. A few women were trying to keep it going (thankfully!) but I dropped the ball. Repeatedly.
I was convinced that yes, I can run two groups, operate three businesses, raise two kids, cook dinner every night, have a great sex life with my husband and get in 30 minutes of exercise a day all by myself. No help necessary.
One member hit me up after I posted in the group that I needed assistance. She asked, “How can I help?”
Still, my instinct was to say, “No, I got it!”
Even after I had just said I needed help running the group.
I told y’all this is a process.
I took a deep breath and I thought for a moment and told her. She completed that task in five minutes. FIVE MINUTES. Something that would have sat on my to-do list all day and stressed me out because I didn’t have time to get to it.
After she did that, she came back to me and asked, “What else do you need help with?”
I wasn’t sure because honestly, I don’t get those offers for help very often.
I can admit now that it was mostly my fault.
I had worked very hard to maintain an illusion of “self-sufficiency.” I wanted that praise for being so hard-working, so strong. I was still carrying around shame for being young and unwed and pregnant and I spent the next few years trying to prove to everyone that I was capable and smart.
But what good was that illusion if I was run down and exhausted, dying for a break?
The lesson here is that we often want help — need help — but we are not quite ready to receive it.
If someone came to you right now offering their help in an area of your life that you’re struggling with, ask yourself these questions:
- Would you know what to let go of?
- Would you trust that things would get done and be okay if it wasn’t done exactly how you would have done it?
- Would you hesitate to let them help you because [INSERT YOUR REASONS HERE]?
- Would your instinct be to clutch that struggle tighter because it’s better to do something yourself poorly rather than let it flourish in someone else’s hands and you get less of the credit? (Be honest.)
- Would you be fearful that they will judge you for needing help?
- Would you judge yourself for needing help?
This has been my daily homework in 2019: Reach out and then sit back.
Let someone know you need help, then sit back and let them help you. Accept it graciously. Know that other people like to serve others and you should not deny them the pleasure.
For those of you who are struggling to let go, there is relief waiting for you on the other side.
You do not have to be responsible for every single aspect of your life.
You can relax and know that other people will be there to back you up.
Just as you go out of your way to help a friend, let yourself be on the receiving end at times. It’s good for your soul.