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Support That Helps

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Recently I've noticed a trend and perhaps I was hiding from the light prior to this time or perhaps it's just happening more, but it seems to me that we often don't ask for help because when we do, we feel worse afterward.

Let me explain. A friend of mine needs to lose weight. She wants to lose weight. She has been struggling for years with her weight and it's time; she's ready to get the weight out of her life as an issue. Having been angry and embarrassed, or irritated and over-tired in the past, she hasn't sought any support or help for this. Now, however, in the name of really making a go of it, she has. She sauntered into her doctor's office, explained her mission, allows herself to be weighed, measured and evaluated. She is ready, she said, for support.

"Well," said the doctor, "I can't really promise you anything since you've struggled with this issue for so long. But we'll see what we can come up with. I mean you already know you should be eating better and exercising way more than you do, but if you want the name of some programs I can probably get those for you."

And just like that, my friend realized why she had spent so much time avoiding "getting support." She left the doctor's office feeling worse than she'd felt when she'd come in, and was also mad at herself for not eating well and exercising as she, of course, knew she should have been doing all along, and she was also embarrassed that it was so obvious she couldn't follow through.

Other examples are teachers who judge their students for not understanding academics or behavioral directions. Or friends who judge their friends and shake their heads, fingers or wiggle their eyebrows in a haughty manner when true feelings are disclosed, or parents who say they are there for you and then never have time to help.

It's amazing how much of the support we need just doesn't feel like it helps; in fact, it actually makes us feel worse. The problem is that so many of us end up slowing down or completely stopping our reflex of reaching out, because we have been burned so many times in the past.

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