Asking for and being open to receiving help is a marker of advanced emotional intelligence. Thank you Dr. Goleman for affirming that in text in your book (that I love) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. For one, it made me understand that maybe I wasn’t as emotionally evolved as I thought I was (whoops). Secondly, it made me view asking for and RECEIVING help as a muscle that maybe I needed to flex more.
(Baby circa 1 month old…cluster feeding all time high text exchange)
Husband: How are you today?
Me: I NEED YOU TO PICK UP 2 CHEESEBURGERS AND FRIES ON WAY HOME!!!
Husband: Everything Ok?
Me: Maybe also a milshake
This was truly the first exchange where I was honest with myself. I needed to ask my partner and my inner circle for help (not just cheeseburgers). I also needed to willingly accept help when it was offered. Asking for help didn’t make me weak, and it didn’t make me a lesser mother.
It made me smart.
The lone warrior mentality is overrated. Being strong is an amazing quality, but so is being honest. In my job I would have never had a full caseload and then said to my boss “You want to hire another therapist to help ease my workload, and make me better at my job?”, “I’LL PASS.” I would take the support, and be really excited to have a teammate.
Sometimes the hardest thing to admit is what we don’t know or can’t do alone. But, help is not a dirty word. It is a SMART word. It is a respectful word. You just have to let it be. I remember as a graduate student I had a clinical supervisor who always told me that when working with students she had the most respect for those students who would openly answer “I don’t know.” “I need help.” Because they had the potential to GROW. Asking for help is an openness to learning, to new experiences, to new relationships.
Last Saturday morning my daughter got up earlier than usual. I remembered to exercise that “help” muscle. I poked my husband and asked him for some extra sleep. He took her to the local coffee shop, they split a scone on the waterfront. I slept for an extra hour. The world did not end.
Asking for help is just as strong and admirable as offering it. Exercise that muscle. You’re worth it.