A Special 2-Day Reflections Series. Wednesday & Thursday, September 21-22, 2016
In this Reflections Seminar, we will explore how to be helpful as well as how and when to ask for help.
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Two On-Line Seminars. Wednesday, September 21 - Thursday, September 22, 2016. 7:30pm - 9:00pm central daylight time.
Recordings in video and audio formats are posted 48 hours after the event for “anytime” access.
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Help is one of those four-letter-words that is curiously difficult to say when it’s in the form of a request. Most people tell me that it’s not easy for them to ask for help. Offering to be of help, on the other hand, comes much easier to people. Helpers, after all, are not the vulnerable ones. And yet, the conversation that inspired this Reflections class was one of those casual exchanges between me and a close friend who remarked that she was feeling badly because a friend in serious need refused her help. How can that be, she wondered? How could she do that? All she wanted to do was be helpful, after all.
Hmmm. I offered possibilities: Maybe her friend doesn’t even know what type of help she actually needs yet, as her situation seems pretty overwhelming at the moment. Maybe you would ask too many questions about how she got herself into that situation in the first place, negating all the helpfulness of your offer to pack boxes. She would rather pack the boxes alone than listen to your judgmental questions, in other words. Or maybe the most helpful thing you can do for her right now is to understand she is in trauma and can’t move as fast as people expect her to move. What would be helpful is to slip her a note saying you are picking up her mail and doing her shopping for a few days – no need for conversation.
How to be of help to someone sometimes requires knowing how to do an intuitive reading on the entire situation and not just the person. Or sometimes what’s needed is knowing how to not take a “no” or any other response personally when the person going through a rough spot emotionally explodes. Nothing could be more helpful than to let his or her explosion just roll off your back. It’s not personal. It’s panic.
As an aside, it’s also okay to say no to someone who asks too much or for something inappropriate – a delicate topic that needs to be discussed within the context of this subject.
Asking for help yourself comes with challenges of its own as well, spanning a spectrum of recognizing when you are too proud to ask to when you manipulate every one into picking up the pieces of your life.
Help is a big and powerful word that should only be used when needed. Sometimes it’s an alarm word and sometimes it’s a call for a co-pilot. I have been with people who did not ask for help and following the disaster that happened said, “Couldn’t you see I needed help?”
That question of course is always followed by, “Why didn’t you just ask?”
We’ve all been there: Waiting to be rescued without having to ask for it. Sigh.
In this Reflection’s Seminar, we will explore this topic further along with suggestions on how to be helpful as well as how and when to ask for help.