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You Have People

My husband was hospitalized just over a year ago and I was admittedly overwhelmed. I was traveling back and forth to the hospital daily in LA traffic, sometimes twice. I was working and going to school, and had zero food in my refrigerator. It was also December and I had not bought one holiday gift. Primary to all this there was the worry that goes hand in hand when a loved one is ill. Many people offered assistance. I heard ’please let me know if you need anything’ so many times and yet I never felt I could make the ask.

Kind souls: it's not you, it's me.

Why is it so difficult for me to ask for help?

It turns out many of us don’t / can’t ask for help out of fear of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, to be beholden to others, give the appearance of not being in control or being perceived as a burden. If you pride yourself on being independent and always being able to figure it out, then for sure you’re never asking for help. If you identify as always being the helper never the one in need, then your script is to go it alone. For me, it’s all the things! I also didn’t want to make this about me: I wasn’t the one being treated in the hospital.

That was until a friend gave me the tough love that I needed.

During a check-in phone call one evening last December, she immediately picked up on my stress and made several offers to help. Naturally, I declined them all, to which she responded [loudly, I might add] three words:


It turns out, most all of us have people. People who would cherish the opportunity to help a friend in crisis, drop everything to step in to save the day, bend over backwards to lighten our load, even if it is to offer just a brief respite or temporary solution…wanting nothing in return…if we only let them. We build up trust and cultivate these relationships over long periods of time not for transactional purposes, but to transform our world when we are riding high, and of equal importance, in the times that prove more challenging.

In a recent Simon Sinek podcast he cites research around an 8-minute phone call. When we reach out to a friend the research says all we need is for them to hold space with us for 8 minutes in order for us to feel better; nothing to fix, just to be heard, to be seen, decompress. The reality is our “people” will feel profoundly honored to pick up the phone and hear “I’m feeling low, I am having a tough time, do you have 8 minutes for me?”

I have people. You do too.

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