This very question is something I am struggling with every single day.
If you’ve read enough books and watched enough movies you know that a significant part of being on the path of getting better is to ask for help.
Help comes in so many different shapes and forms. Be it asking for help with your homework when you don’t understand it, asking questions to clarify an issue you don’t quite grasp, getting training or an apprenticeship under the wings of a mentor or a master, going to college, talking to friends, or getting professional help or therapy.
But how exactly do you ask for that help? How do you know what you don’t know and how do you ask for help when you don’t know who to ask or what advice to follow?
What do you do when there’s no clear answer and there’s no way out?
The problem always seems like those who do know don’t care and those who do care don’t know.
You start looking in all directions, trying to hang in by a straw of common sense from any and all sources. You search your social media feeds, you talk to friends and family, you read books, you watch documentaries, and you try to follow the things many people deemed as good advice, but nothing seems to be doing the trick.
And that whole illusion, that house of cards you’ve built as some modicum of stability and control falls apart when the unexpected horns of the inescapable dilemma make a lunge at you.
When door number one has a dead-end brick wall on the other side and door number two opens to the darkness of an abyss.
Where’s the way out?
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
You can’t stay, but there’s no way to go.
You know that the right answer is the one that requires courage, but if it’s not clear what is considered courageous action?
Is it courage to stop the misery and break free of the shackles of ‘what you should be doing,’ and ‘what’s expected of you,’ which will require a leap into uncertainty without a plan and without proper preparation? Or is this insanity and a selfish act of desperation much like a caught fish thrashing in a bucket that wants to jump onto the pavement in search of the ocean?
Is it courage to just take it, handle it, roll with it, and keep taking the same abuse, disrespect, lack of appreciation, and being stripped of your self-esteem on a regular basis, because it’s what is the responsible selfless thing that’s keeping everyone who depends on you warm and fed, even though you’re dying the death of a thousand cuts every single day and you know that one of those days you’re going to drop the ball and crash into a useless heap of unrecognizable refuse? Or it’s exactly the opposite of what you should be doing because in a crisis you won’t be able to help anyone else if you don’t put on your oxygen mask first.
How to frame the situation properly requires a big picture perspective and a fresh pair of eyes on the outside looking in. It needs help.
You feel like those who tell you to keep going and do the same thing that is getting you nowhere, and obviously not working, are betraying your trust, or at the very least, assuming the very best of intentions, are absolutely blind and oblivious to your pain and suffering.
You feel like those who tell you to go ahead with a leap of faith into uncertainty are enabling your delusions and miscalculations about the future, and you start to doubt their motivations.
Only those who tell you to really pray on it, and think it through, are the ones who really love and care about you and wise enough to know that the decision must be yours, and only yours, to make.
You can’t really blame anyone for your troubles, that’s your burden to bear and yours alone.
Even if that wrong course of action was suggested by someone else, you had to sign-off on it of your own free will.
Not long ago, a dear friend of mine asked me what to do because he was making a life decision that was scaring him. I’d told him to do the best he can under the circumstances and choose to follow option A or option B, and then own up to it, stick to it, and see where it leads.
I do think that in the moment of indecision, any decision, even the wrong one is an improvement on a stagnant situation.
You’re not going to make the right decision 100% of the time.
Even what seems like a good decision might take you down a nasty road of an unforeseen sequence of unfortunate events.
It’s at such times that you wish for an out-of-body experience or the skill to detach from your own mind so that you can assess the situation logically without the inevitable investment of personal emotions.
You can be too close to the problem to be able to make an intelligent, informed, and impartial decision.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one can always follow their own advice?
So, again, how to ask for help? I wonder still.
I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
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