“Trouble is a part of your life – if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you chance to love you enough.” – Dinah Shore, entertainer
It’s a shame that many clients who call LifeMatters® in times of crisis and difficulty are unable to consult with friends or family about their troubles. Too often, they actually have no one at all that they can turn to, no one who is there to listen and respond.
A trail of broken trust and betrayal is the background to nearly every one of these stories, so the retreat into protective isolation is understandable. For some people it seems like the only defense they have.
However, isolation doesn’t come in only one form. People aren’t detached just because there is no one within reach who cares enough to help. Many times the helpers are right there, but they aren’t given the chance to lend a hand.
Thus, when I ask who is there with a listening ear, I typically hear three variations of the idea, “I’m not going to let someone help me.” They are:
- “I don’t want to be a burden.”
- “They have troubles of their own.”
- “I need to be strong for them.”
Sometimes there is some realism behind these assertions, yet often I’ll end up asking one question for consideration – “If it was their decision, would they want to know you need help?”
Almost always, the client realizes that their decision is based on an untested assumption, and that, without asking, they determined for someone else what that person was willing to give. Furthermore, I can’t remember a single client who had been told directly that someone wouldn’t want to be available.
Of course, there are times when friends or family really might not be in a position to help (serious illness, needs of their children, etc.). Yet, it is telling that once the assumption is challenged, my client then realizes that he/she might have someone to be supportive and helpful.
Truly, Ms. Shore was right. Hopefully you see that, and you know that there are times when you just need to let others stand beside you in hard times. Avoid making the assumption that they won’t or that you only have one option – to go it alone. We need to give others the chance to care, comfort and love us just as we need, and it is then that we feel the true value of a relationship that is close to our hearts.