As parents, it is essential to develop a partnership that encourages teamwork. However, when a partnership is shaken, i.e., in a divorce, you undergo an imbalance that requires extra support to keep you grounded. Unfortunately, as we get older, we teach ourselves to handle everything that is thrown at us and rely less on outside help. This mentality is dangerous, especially for separating parents. There will be stressful and emotional situations where you cannot hold yourself together. You will need help, and you will need to ask for help. There is no shame in that.
The challenge people face when asking for help is the sense of weakness associated with the inability to hold the reins to their life. When you have your own children, your life’s chaos seems more frightening than ever before. Claire Barnes, MA is the Executive Director of Kids’ Turn (San Francisco) who advocates for families experiencing difficulties during a separation. She pushes for people in these troubling situations to ask for help. She argues that everyone needs a support system since we, as human beings, are “species designed to exist with other people.” The pattern of mankind that time reveals is that we look for situations where we can share our emotions with another person. Communal activities are what allow us to survive, according to Barnes. When we ask for help, we share an emotional connection that gives us something to celebrate or grieve about together. In essence, existing with other people gives us the support we need to move forward with our lives.
When you ask for help, you indirectly reveal your true strength. It is an important part of life to realize where you are in your journey of life. If you understand your situation and your emotions, it is a testimony to your self-awareness. You know when you are feeling a certain way and you know what the next steps are to continue aw fulfilled life. For example, to know when life is overwhelming you allows you to identify the need to seek help. We have grown accustomed to a culture where we decide we can fix most, if not all, our problems ourselves. This mentality hinders our future. It doesn’t teach our children to ask for help. We lose a sense of vulnerability in a moment where vulnerability is the catalyst to empowerment.
It is imperative that you lose the fear to ask for help. There are support systems that constantly surround you. From family to friends to in-person support groups and professionals, these are all sources of valuable mental, emotional, and physical support you can use to balance your life. The moment you decide to allow yourself to be vulnerable to a third party is the moment you realize that people actually enjoy volunteering their time to help you. Not only does it benefit you with the help you need, but it also allows the other person to develop value in their own lives. It validates the other person’s self-worth and caliber. However, most people are not going to apply themselves to a situation where they are not welcomed. You have to ask for them for help.
More importantly, asking for help as an adult sets a good example for your children. It exposes a “healthy way of managing life difficulties” for the younger generation. Whether you realize it or not, our children are always taking mental notes on our behavior. Exercise behavior where your children learn that everyone needs assistance on occasion. Encourage them to ask questions and allow help from other people. If you demonstrate this important piece of advice, your life will turn out to be more manageable than when you tried to fix all your problems yourself.