“I need help.”
Over the past several years, I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing my own mind and asking for what I need. But hot, fat tears ran down my cheeks as I typed those three words.
The logjam started a couple months ago while I was working on the 175th anniversary special edition for the newspaper. It was a massive undertaking in a short period of time and I felt too incompetent and stupid to get the project right.
Since it came out I’ve received countless compliments for it, but I never quite lost that feeling that the whole thing was a travesty.
It all came to a head last Wednesday. The thought of going into the paper made me want to cry. I finally messaged Rev. Nancy, my mentor, coach, friend, and general life-saver.
“I need help.” She emailed me back immediately, “Of course, Boo!”
The funny thing is that just writing the words – moving past the fear of admitting weakness and saying what I needed – started me on the road to feeling better.
That evening on the phone, I spilled out my tale of woe. Rev. Nancy let me talk and cry for a few minutes. Then she stopped me cold by asking the question that I didn’t know needed to be asked:
“What are you pissed off about?”
She was right. I was totally pissed off because I really don’t like feeling stupid and incompetent. Having gone so far down that road, I didn’t regain my equilibrium even after the project was over. (To be clear – no one else made me feel that way; in fact, my colleagues had my back the whole time. This was a head trip I was playing on myself.)
There are a lot of personal development teachers out there preaching variations of, “Just think positive!” and “Don’t be angry or you’ll attract more anger into your life!”
I firmly believe in the Law of Attraction, but I think there’s something really important being lost in that bumper-sticker kind of teaching. I couldn’t get to a place of thinking positive until I admitted that I was angry. As long as I kept stuffing the anger down, it continued ruling me. I could have put on a happy smile on top of it (“Fake it ’til you make it!”) but that wouldn’t have done anything to address the underlying anger. It would have been like adding a layer of icing on top of a stinky pile of poo.
I had to let myself see and acknowledge the anger before I could move on. That is the missing part of so much teaching on The Law of Attraction – life isn’t rainbows and unicorns all the time. It wasn’t meant to be!
I know for myself that admitting those awful feelings can be scary sometimes because I’m afraid that I’ll get stuck in them. But the truth is that I get stuck in them when I DON’T admit them. Case in point: I spent six weeks denying that I was angry and feeling progressively crappier. I spent ten minutes admitting that I did feel angry and it began to dissipate immediately.
Today’s miracle: Admitting that I needed help was the strongest, most self-loving action I could have taken.