This past week, a friend of mine lost a fellow warrior, a brother in arms, a former squad mate to mental wounds. We talked about how our struggles can seem small and insignificant today, but over time can begin to weigh on us in ways we never anticipated. As our friend grieved, we discussed how too often we understate our struggles in order to refrain from creating an inconvenience for one another. However, when it comes to other areas, we have no problem reaching out.
Picture this, it is a cold winter’s evening, there is ice on the ground, some snow is starting to fall. You can feel the cold bite on the tips of your fingers as you walk into a weight room ready to attempt a personal best. You are confident that you have the strength to handle your attempt, but just in case you struggle, you ask a buddy to meet you at the gym and provide a guiding hand. While the cold and snow are an inconvenience them, you ask anyway, knowing you can count on them.
Or, you spent the past year saving to upgrade your car. You arrive at the lot on a hot summer day. As soon as you step out of your car, the sun’s rays beating down on you make you squint. It is so hot that even the ice in your Yeti is starting to sweat. You see the car you want. It is painted sleek black (or red); however, before you shake hands with the salesman, you drop in on your mechanic. You know they are busy fixing other cars, but you ask them to make a professional, and objective, assessment of the car. While it may cost you a few dollars right now, you know in the long run it can save you a lot of pain.
On the contrary, when it comes to our mental fitness, we hesitate to reach out to a friend or a professional. Each one of our reasons for this hesitation is as varied as we are. We tell ourselves a story as to why we can’t, or won’t, reach out. We may fear that it is an inconvenience to lay our problems on a friend. We may think it is going to cost too much to meet with a professional. We may think that no one would understand anyway. Whatever the reason is, we hesitate. As a good friend told me, “only through openness and vulnerability can we get stronger. We must be ok at not being ok.”
- What problems are you holding onto that someone else could help you with?
- Who could you turn to today to help you with those problems?
- What lessons have you learned that you could pass on to someone else?
- What barriers and stories keep you from reaching out to those people?
- What specific actions are you taking to overcome those barriers?