I have a confession to make. While I love Brené Brown’s books, and her insights, I have never yet finished one of her books.
Because it gets too hard. Because she touches on a raw nerve. Because she goes too deep. Because she asks things of me that I am not completely sure I want to go through.
I know that in the end I will be a braver, more whole-hearted person. But I’m not sure I want to do the work and sift through my emotional debris to get there.
And then I said “yes”.
Because I am the classic first-born, over-functioner that Brené talks about.
Over-functioning: I won’t feel, I will do. I don’t need help, I help.
Under-functioning: I won’t function, I will fall apart. I don’t help, I need help.
I am the person who, in a crisis, wants to take control and organise everyone else. I am the person who loves to be useful, who needs to be needed, and who is not able to ask for help. I damp down my feelings with my to-do list, and my have-to’s, and my focus on others.
And then when suddenly everything stops I find myself like Brené in this chapter:
I was inconsolable … I’m sure I was making a scene, but I couldn’t stop … It was if forty years of doing instead of feeling had caught up with me.
Even with this book club, there have been so many times when I have known I need to sit down and process what I am learning. To work through issues that have come up over the course of this month. Heck, even my last post focused on writing an SFD, (which by the way I only got around to this weekend).
Instead I am numbing myself with doing, and avoiding the feeling. But this book keeps coming back and giving me an emotional smack around the head. When I read phrases like:
We’ll do anything to avoid the lowest of the low – self-examination.
Ouch! Yep that bit hurts.
You got me there Brené.
Like a knowledgeable Physio or masseur, she has put her finger right on the sore spot, the pressure point that makes me wince. But the only way to ease that pain is to remember that I have to stop doing; take the time to realise that I am feeling something; put in the effort to examine and process what I am feeling and why; and to reach out to others and ask for help.
So then I think, “okay if I have to do that then I will do it on my terms in a dignified and restrained way”. But Brené won’t let me off that easily, she says it will be messy, desperate and uncivilised.
Gee, she makes it appealing! But the one thing that lets me know that this is worth it, is this:
Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving. We need to give and we need to need.
What about you? We’d love you to join the conversation and hear your response to the book club question today:
What stops you from asking for help?
PS – all the previous chapter links are here. And don’t worry if you are not up-to-date with the reading, we’d still love to hear from you on previous posts. Just comment when you are ready and we will get back to you.