Because what we think we deserve is not enough.

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I wrote a piece for Postpartum Progress years ago about getting more help than you think you deserve. I wrote it as a love note to new moms, but I’m realizing that this mantra might apply to lots of other times in our life as well. (Like for me, now!)

Because what we think we deserve is not enough.
Because what we think we deserve is just the tiniest slice of what we actually need.

Because needing help, support, company doesn’t make you needy, it makes you human.

I’ve been practicing this lately and it’s vulnerable stuff. But honestly, I was in such a place of despair last week I really didn’t care. In addition to calling for support from my virtual community (oh my goodness. thank you) I also sent an email out to some local friends. It went something like this:

Hey sweet friends,

I’m not doing particularly well.

And I have the kids all weekend by myself.

I’m thinking having company would make a world of difference! If you have any pockets of time this weekend, or if your kids want to play, let me know.

XO

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And then a wash of shame came over me. And some thoughts: What’s your problem? Why are you so needy? Are you ever going to have your shit together? And I remembered that mantra again – Get more help than you think you deserve.

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And then there’s the other side… and I remember how honored I feel when a friend comes to me with the real deal of her life. How it feels like a blessing to be included and to be able to offer my support.

It’s intimacy.
It’s connection.
And that’s soul food for me. I’m guessing it’s soul food for you too.

So can we just make a little deal here?

Can we just declare right now that it’s okay to not have our shit together?
That it’s okay to feel lost.
Or lonely.
Or in need.

Let’s decide that it’s actually a gift to include others in our (sometimes messy) process. That by showing our own vulnerability, we make space for others to do the same. Let’s create that kind of world for ourselves, shall we?

Some years ago a friend of mine was telling me about an icky procedure she was going to have to do the next day at the hospital. “Do you want me to go with you?” I asked. Tears welled up in her eyes. “That would be so nice,” she said. “I didn’t know I could ask for that.”

And I LOVED being there for her. I felt so happy to be the person that got to give that gift. It was good. It was her medicine and it was also mine.

Yes. Yes. Yes to this.

We can ask for this.
We need to ask for this.

This is how we are going to survive the messiness of life. This is how we are going to thrive.

We stay connected. We stay real. We stop pretending. We tell the truth.

When we do this, we are shining a light in the dark places for each other. When we offer the light of our heart, our attention and our compassion we help each other move through to the other side.

And when YOU decide to be the brave one, the one that reaches out first… you give your loved ones permission to do it the next time. You create a loop of mutual support + connection that will not only feed you, but save your sanity. This is a crazy ride folks. We need each other. Let’s be brave together.

 

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P.S. Ready to do some Brave Blogging with me? The class begins on September 5th. More details here.

 

15 Comments

  1. Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this really hit home. I’m so bad at asking for what I need, from money to time to a hug. But I LOVE giving that gift to my friends and loved ones. There has to be some balance here for me, and I’ll think on it. Thank you for the food for thought.

  2. Norita
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh Andrea, you are pure magic in your truth telling & the way you write about your experiences. So good & refreshing to be REAL – it makes such a difference in relationships that mean the most to us.
    Sending you a virtual calming cup of tea, or a sturdy micro-brew (your choice!)
    Big love to you for what you demonstrate to others!
    Xox

  3. Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    This made me teary in the best possible way. The fully felt, totally human way. The we can ask, we can open the doors to our messy closets without having to pretend all the things behind closed doors are organized and above reproach.

    Wishing I could be local and come over to kibitz and play. Sending you love as the local loves accept the invitation you offered. Sharing space and all the feels.
    ❤️

  4. Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, another painfully and beautifully honest post, for which I am deeply grateful. I feel like I have increasingly spent a tremendous amount of energy trying to navigate doing “healing work” as my profession (and passion) with my own healing journey, which at times has been very dark. You show us, in your bare truth, how this can interweave, how one can in fact increase her credibility and the scope of the meaning of her work by opening up to the messy places within.

    I also need to say that I so relate to the dread of a weekend alone with kids as a single parent. We now live with my new partner and his three boys, which has provided a blessed cushion for the loneliness, but for many years I struggled through some very challenging places alone with my girls. It was rare that I reached out for help, but when I did, as you say it was a great act of courage, and often small blessings of relief were bestowed upon us, for which I am ever grateful.

    Andrea, I mean this with the greatest of respect, not patting on the head 🙂 — I know, with every fibre of my being, that things will get better for you. And I am so appreciative and in awe of your bravery as you share your journey with us. Thank you so much for the profound inspiration to “stay connected…stay real…stop pretending…tell the truth.”

    Melissa

  5. Posted August 15, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh Dearling, I’m over-the-moon grateful you’ve followed your inner wisdom and found the bravery to “ask” and to so sweetly tell your story of doing so as a generous way to inspire others with it. When I finally learned to truly ask my angel friends for help – even carry me in moments in which I could not stand on my own two figurative feet – my life changed forever and likely was saved. It’s a gift of infinite divine reciprocity we can offer one another… and one wherein givers and receivers are truly equally blessed. Bless you ❤️

  6. Barbara
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    You are so hitting your blogs right out of the ballpark! I’m not sure that is even possible to do. But if it were! you are.

    I love the idea of your brave blogging course. I don’t want to do a blog anymore, but I love what I learned about myself when I had a blog and still enjoy rereading them.

    How useful would this be to me if I don’t really want to do a blog but would be interested in the writing part? I know, I could just write on my own, but just now I’m not doing any writing at all and someone else’s prompts would prime my pump for awhile. I would probably just take the prompts from other courses and write away!

  7. Lisa
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry it’s so hard, and thank you for sharing so honestly

  8. Puscha Turner
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Thank you x

  9. Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    These insights are so darn good Andrea. You are an amazing human being and doing a great job at living. Thanks with all my heart. Jackee

  10. Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, I’m learning also – how so many “lessons” are intertwined with other roles in our’s and other’s lives. That’s what makes your writing so powerful. You get it – you see how we’re all connected irregardless of where we are in life.

    I never tire of your insights – please keep writing.

  11. Shannon Watson
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Sweet Andrea, yes! Let’s be brave together. We are so much stronger together. This is my path, too.. stepping up, being vulnerable, asking and sharing, connecting, truth telling.. I love how you wrote this! Such a beautiful expression from your heart. Thank you for shining your light on this. Big hugs, *Shannon*
    P.S. are you familiar with Amanda Palmer’s Ted talk and her book The Art of Asking? these really resonated with me.. might be of interest to you,too.

  12. Posted August 17, 2016 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your stories and wise words. Your writing is good medicine. Getting comfortable with asking for help and support is an ongoing practice for me. It took a few dear friends gently letting me know how it made them feel when I shut down those opportunities to connect. I knew how much pleasure I got from being supportive but I didn’t have the confidence to believe they would see reciprocating as a gift. Be well. x

  13. Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    This blog resonates with me. I read it a few days ago, then read it again today. I’m still working on allowing myself to accept help when I need it. It’s a process.

  14. Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this — I shared it with friends and on my blog. Such an important message to read/repeat often.

  15. Hannah
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you sooooo much for writing this, and thanks to others for commenting. Like others have written, I also get a lot of pleasure from supporting others, but can also feel really dismayed and not seen when I’m not asked to help. So important to think of this as a balance, and that I need to ask, too.

    big hugs.
    Hannah

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