It’s hard to ask for help. Some of us loathe to admit to vulnerability, others don’t want to put anyone out of their way on account of our needs. Still others believe they don’t deserve help to get through difficult situations that were, in some way or another, within their control (like having kids, or marrying a person who travels all the time for work…).
I’ve talked before about chivalrous support – provided by the kind of people that sneak up to your doorstep, drop off a lasagne, and sneak off again without you having to answer the door with tear-streaked cheeks in your pyjamas, or, worse…ask them to.
Usually these people – the ones that will come in the middle of the night and rock your baby when you’re losing your mind with exhaustion – are family, or lifelong friends, if you’re lucky enough to have them nearby. Even with these support networks, admitting vulnerability is a challenge.
And if you don’t have these kinds of support, what can you rely on?
You have to build your support network.
Don’t worry, I’m not necessarily suggesting that you join your local soccer team, or chat up your weird co-worker. People so often mistake the size of their support network for the quality of that network.
There’s nothing more depressing than feeling like you really need that lasagne (or someone to look after your kids, walk your dog, or just come over and be a warm body in your house when you’re lonely) and realizing that though you know all kinds of people, none of them are there for you when you really need it.
And then you get into that whole asking for help thing.
I have a different solution.
You need to show people how you want to be supported.
You need to be the one with the lasagne. You need to call when your friend posts vague/heartbreaking things on Facebook. You need to ask your co-worker to lunch when you hear sobs through the cubicle fabric.
By supporting others, when you can, in the way (and frequency) that you most often require help, you’re more likely to have a lasagne on the doorstep when you don’t have the time/heart to nourish yourself in the way you need.
How do you most often require support from others? Childcare? Food preparation? Task delegation?
How can you provide that kind of support to someone else?
Can you make a plan to provide chivalrous support to at least one person per week?