Asking for help

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I was surprised to receive an email this week with a completed intake form from my website, “Simply a Woman of Faith” from a woman seeking spiritual coaching and counseling.

Here is what she wrote, “I’d love to be able to positively identify the triggers that hold me back & learn how to effectively change them so I can have peace & stop pushing everyone away who tries to love me. Her 3 goals for coaching were: independence, no more allowing fear to cripple me and to learn to truly love & accept me for me.”  On a scale from 1-10, how motivated are you to change and grow? She wrote, “10+ it’s long overdue.”

I felt really excited to connect with her because I knew I could help her identify her triggers and help her learn to love herself. As a therapist and coach for over 30 years, I have worked with many women who have learned to love themselves and change their lives. I called her immediately and left a message for her to call me. I waited a day and when I didn’t hear from her, I sent her an email.

It’s been several days and I haven’t heard a word from her. I wondered, “Why would someone go through all the trouble of answering the intake questions and then not follow through?” I believe it is FEAR that is robbing her of moving forward and getting the help she desperately needs to live an abundant life.

I shared this with my friend, Nancy, who is a therapist and she responded, “I have had this experience several times with clients. In fact, I just started working with a woman who said, “It took me 2 years to make an appointment with you.”

Why does it take so long to ask for help? It has been my experience that most people don’t go into therapy and ask for help until they have hit bottom or things are falling in apart in their lives.

Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness, but a sign of STRENGTH.  If I hadn’t asked for help and gone into therapy many years ago when I needed it, I would not be who and where I am today. It was a long and hard road uncovering and discovering the truth of who I am as a divine spiritual being. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to heal and recover from childhood sexual abuse and family dysfunction.

It takes courage and a willingness to dig deep and face the truth about ourselves and our past. We must take responsibility for ourselves and not blame and judge others. We must forgive ourselves and others if we are going to move forward and live the life we are intended to live.

Forgiveness is a process and takes time. It’s tempting to want to forgive prematurely, rather than go through the grief process and feel all of our feelings. For example: When memories started to surface that my father sexually abused me as a child, I didn’t want to feel the anger and sadness that was buried deep inside of me.  I loved my father and was always “Daddy’s little girl.”

In my first session with the therapist, I said, “I’m ready to forgive my father. I know he was drunk when he abused me and didn’t mean it.” She looked at me with compassion and patience and said, “You are not ready to forgive, you must go through the process before you get to acceptance and forgiveness.”

I’m grateful for her wisdom and my willingness to listen and do the inner work. It wasn’t easy. I believe it was the grace of God to endure, as it took me 3 years to work through the abuse, before I was ready to forgive my father.

I have learned that forgiveness is for me, not the other person. I am not condoning another’s actions, but I am setting myself free of resentments and anger. Forgiveness is a gift I give myself.

I encourage you to ask for help, if you need it. Remember, it is a sign of STRENGTH, not WEAKNESS. You are worth it and deserve to live a peaceful and abundant life.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

Simply A Woman of Faith
621 Laniolu Place Kihei, HI 96753