I am pleased to report, we’ve had some lovely sunny weather the past few days. It’s been beautiful, and has warmed up 10 or so degrees.
In this part of the United States, March is typically the month where the weather begins to shift. While we will still have much more rain to come in March and April, we will continue to get more sun as we all progress towards spring.
I’ll have some more about the weather and my activities related to sunny weather in a moment. First, let’s have a couple writing reflections for this week.
2 Writing Reflections
The poemA Reason occurred to me as I was reflecting upon my time at University. I went to school to pursue, at first, Sociology, and then later, Human Development and Family Studies. While my undergraduate degree, at 33 years old, was difficult, my graduate degree, starting at 38 and finishing at 42, was extremely difficult. The difference?
Why was graduate school so challenging? It all had to do with how I was thinking at that time. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had fallen into a very negative and cynical interior dialogue with myself, that I didn’t know how to escape.
In fact, I wouldn’t fully “escape” this negative self-talk until completing my degree and coming to work at the community college, which I’ve written a little about in other posts.
At the time my negative self-talk was at its pinnacle, I was always searching for a reason, yet I was all the while looking in the wrong direction. Focusing outside of myself, instead of within. It’s not a demerit, it happened just as it was supposed to, just like me typing this blog post right now.
Yet, at the time, I didn’t know how to be in touch with myself, and it would take me several years, slowly, to learn through the guidance of my life coach. The point?
We all have negative self-talk. It’s not who you are. Your thoughts and feelings are not who you are. And, when we search in the right place for a reason, we will find a well that never runs dry.
A Developmental Moment #6: Why Learning to Ask for Help is Necessary and Needed
I think this type of thinking is especially prevalent in the United States, where the concept of individualism is so ingrained into all aspects of the country’s social institutions. The issue?
The concept of individualism is just that; a concept. It is illusory, as I’ve written about in other posts. Whether we actually ask for help, or not, we are always being helped by others. At the grocery store, gas station, coffee shop, or wherever you like to go. There is always someone there serving. Being of service. And, we are able to get the things we need, or want, because people are serving. Simple.
We can all learn to ask for help. Like all things in life, it takes practice, which I write about in this post. Starting small, and building from there. Next time you are feeling stressed, and know you are in need of help, ask. Ask someone that is close to you to assist you. There’s no demerit in it, and we are not deficient when we ask for help.
It’s the opposite. Asking for help is courageous, a sign of strength, and very wise.
Alright, now that we are in March, it’s time to, if you garden, to get seeds and garden plots ready. Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I moved to the other side of Corvallis a year ago now, and there is a lovely community garden about a mile from my place. And?
Well, I called Parks and Recreation last week, which runs the garden, and they had a spot! It’s 10’x20′, which admittedly is a little more space than I was looking for, however, I took it, and am very excited. I’ve not participated in a community garden in about 4 years, and am looking forward to gardening, yes please, and am also looking forward to meeting some new people. Also, yes please.
I am already working on a new post about my gardening experience, which I will be publishing in the next week or two.
I’m going to leave you this week, with the Monday message going out to the team tomorrow. Sleep is so important, as is understanding that when our sleep patterns iterate, like all things in life tend to, to listen to our bodies, and know that nothing in this world stays the same, even when we think it does. Here is the message.
This past year, I’ve been reflecting upon and experiencing new sleeping patterns. I’ve typically been the person that likes to stay up late into the evening. Well, about two years ago, this pattern began to change, and then?
In the past year, my sleeping patterns have iterated a couple of times more. Beginning with, as I’ve mentioned to many of you, late afternoon, and early evening, at times, naps. And, now?
Now, the naps are not as present, yet going to bed at a much earlier hour is, as is getting up much earlier. The point?
There is no one way that sleeping occurs; and, actually, there is no one way anything occurs. Life iterates over time, and when we are present to new things, sleeping patterns, eating habits, whatever they may be for us, we have an opportunity, through new experiences, to learn more about who we are as human beings.
I invite you to always listen to your body, and when you are tired, to sleep; hungry, to eat. And, when not, well, to not.
Remember, there is no one way that life occurs on this planet. When we make sure to get our quiet time, as we’ve discussed the past couple of months, we can hear more, learn more, experience more, and be more.
The past two weeks I’ve been reflecting more upon patience and asking for help. The more people I meet, the more I realize just how important developing patience is, as is the ability to recognize when we need help.
Often people mistakenly believe that asking for help is, in some way, a demerit, or means they are in some way deficient. I would like to dispel this notion now.
When we ask for help, we are recognizing a limit, for the moment, to either what we know, or are capable of doing. It does not mean that we are deficient. In fact, it means the opposite.
Meaning that when we recognize a limit within ourselves, we immediately get to grow that limit to a new level. And, in that moment we are courageous. Many of the greatest leaders of all time recognize and celebrate this fact.
Here is a great quote from Barack Obama about asking for help.
Asking for Help 101
As I reflect upon times when asking for help was more difficult for me, I considered a few strategies that may be helpful for those that, like me, continue to see the action of asking for help as a developmental opportunity.
Start small – when asking for help, you can start small. Start by thinking about the areas in your work or life that you would either like to learn more about, or could use assistance with. For instance, when I first started to open up to the idea of asking for help, I would ask people to assist me with pieces of projects that fit their skill set. When you can ask someone for help, and give them a piece of work that excites or inspires them, it makes the process of asking for help a little easier.
Begin with people you already trust – one of the reasons I shied away from asking for help was because I was concerned about looking incompetent, which is a simple thinking error. When we don’t ask for help, and we try to do everything on our own is, in fact, when incompetence will be seen and felt. However, one way to allay the fear of looking incompetent by asking for help, is to ask someone you already know and trust.
Make it a healthy habit – the only way to really make asking for help stick in your life, is to do it regularly. Simply meaning, that creating a healthy habit of asking for help when needed, will continue to push you outside of your comfort zone. However, the more you ask for help, the less uncomfortable it will feel.
There are three simple strategies you can use to begin to ask people for help. Remember, we are always getting help from people around us, always. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all connected and interdependent. Yep, true.
As we have discussed, asking for help is a courageous act. Yet, people continue to see asking for help as something that is a weakness. Let’s continue to bust this myth, shall we? Good. Here we go.
A Strength Not A Weakness
Here are a few more reasons why asking for help is needed and necessary, and should be considered a strength not a weakness.
Relationships – when we ask someone for help, we are acknowledging that relationships matter to us. That, in fact, we are vulnerable enough to say, “you know, I don’t know.” Important. When we are vulnerable in our relationships, and that vulnerability is reciprocated, our relationships become deeper and more meaningful.
Connection – when we learn to ask for help, we become more open. More open to asking people we don’t know for help. As we pursue asking people we don’t know for help, we create the opportunity to meet new people; and, to deepen our connection with our own humanity, and the humanity of others.
Collaboration – as we practice asking for help, we learn that this practice becomes a strength. We learn that asking for help is essential in order to really collaborate with other people. No true collaboration exists without asking for help. Simple.
Synergy – as we begin to collaborate more, we realize that inside of true collaboration exists a very powerful concept, called synergy. Synergy occurs when people are aligned, work together, and help each other. When you work on a team that has synergy, you are able to innovate and execute inside of any situation. Why? Because you’ve learned to ask for help. You’ve learned that asking questions, and asking for help is an essential part of being a human being.
Alright, there are a few more reasons why asking for help is needed and necessary, and why asking for help is a real strength.
If you’re not used to asking for help. Don’t worry. Try some of the strategies listed above in asking for help 101; and remember, when we ask for help, we are admitting, yes, we don’t know something, or need assistance in completing something. And, guess what?
We all don’t know many things; and, we all need assistance getting things done. We do. It’s not a demerit. It’s the opposite.
Asking for help is a sign of courage and a sign of your inner strength.
They look into my eyes, And I wonder why, or why they even try.
They think their stare a dread, Yet it’s more often just a shred. A glimpse Into their being, having nothing whatsoever To do with my leaving.
I am not the names and forms You associate with me in your head.
Furthermore, it’s mine to lay claim To all that I am, when I’d like, so don’t be such a bore.
I Am Woman, here me roar.
In response to the WDYS #72 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje.
This short poem had a four-fold inspiration; one, the image prompt from Keep it Alive; two, the movie I Am Woman, which I’m watching on Netflix; three, my courageously strong and beautiful sisters, mother, and ex-wife; and four, all of the myriad of women that have coached and mentored me throughout my life, of which, there have been many.