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It’s Okay to Ask for Help

A view looking over a lake with a cypress tree and cypress knees in the foreground

“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

I remember the first time I played softball in sixth grade. My arms were thin. The bat was heavy. And I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. After that public embarrassment in front of my childhood peers, I asked a friend’s brother to show me how to hold the bat and hit the ball. I can’t say I ever became a big fan of playing the game, but a couple of backyard lessons did help me feel a bit more confident the next time I stood at the plate.

Asking for help is a good first step whenever something is giving us trouble.

When I am facing a situation that seems beyond my skill set, I reach out to people who can offer guidance. For instance, if I am under extreme stress because of a family member’s life-threatening illness, I will call a counselor and ask: How do I handle this? What do I do? I seek help in how to take care of myself during the onslaught of fear. Likewise, if I have interactions with someone who has substance abuse issues and can be abusive, I might practice beforehand what I am going to say or not say to avoid being triggered; I might write down my boundaries and why they matter; I might limit my interactions; and I might have a backup plan to ensure I remain safe and emotionally healthy.

Even with guidance and tools on hand, things sometimes still go badly. People get sick. People lash out. People die.

Regardless of how events unfold, it’s incredibly helpful to ask: What do I need for my inner calm? What do I need for my own happiness? 

Just asking the right questions can be useful.

Then, take five minutes or ten minutes or, if you need it and have the time, take an entire day to do those things that bring you peace. It might be watching the sunrise while drinking a cup of coffee. It might be meeting up with a supportive person to process swirling emotions. It might be getting extra sleep, watching a comedy, or pursuing a creative outlet.

We may not be able to change people or events, but we can take a time out and allow ourselves a few moments of happiness: moments that will sustain us for the journey.

Be well.

 

Peace & Love,

Diana Ensign

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