Excerpt – Ask for Help

Excerpt Week for "It's Not About The Miles"

Thanks to those people who have purchased my book and especially to those who have reviewed it. Since it’s still available (on Kindle for now – paperback to come) for only 99 cents.
I thought I’d take the next few days to share some excerpts. The lessons I learned yesterday when on my birthday I received “surprises” I didn’t really want, made me decide to start the excerpts with a bit about “help”….enjoy..
Help Comes in Many Forms…
“Help comes in many forms. A kidney, a kind gesture, a friend to light your way. Still, too often we insist on doing it ourselves. We’re afraid of looking weak, of not being tough. Truth is, we’re all capable of walking through the world by ourselves. But most of the time, life is better with company.”
Gray’s Anatomy Season 15, Episode 10
Stoic people who just can’t bring themselves to ask for help can still receive help, even if they don’t know how. I have been shy all my life and always felt I didn’t deserve to be helped. My German/British background led to the “If you can’t achieve it on your own, then you don’t deserve it. Don’t be asking for handouts.” – handouts in my family equated to help.
I also always thought that people were too busy to help me and that I wasn’t worth their attention. As I did my attempted trek across the USA, I found out that people love to help. It makes them feel good. That was a big shock to me. It also changed my life. Doing this race brought the point home even more. Everywhere I turned there were people wanting to help me in whatever way they could; even if it was just cheering me on or handing me a bottle of water.
Most normal people cannot fathom how important a single bottle of water can be to someone. Those who have experienced natural disasters certainly can understand but, if you haven’t been there, you may not really comprehend that a bottle of water can forge a forever bond between two people.
Be aware that you don’t have to verbalize the need for help. If you’re lonely or in need of something the Universe knows it and, if you’re open, it will bring you what you need. Hasn’t that ever happened to you? You are at the end of a rope in something, and your mind is saying “if only…” The next thing you know, something you need appears in front of you. Now this may not be exactly what you’re asking for but it will be the right thing for you.
Asking for help opens yourself up and makes you vulnerable. Vulnerability is hard but it’s essential for a fulfilled life. And contrary to the thought of many hard-core ultra-runners and others, it is NOT a synonym for weakness.
For me, just the sight of another person close by or even hearing someone say hi as they passed me by was help. Why? Because it reconnected me to the world of the living. I was, for a few more minutes or hours, not on an abandoned island trying to survive on my own. I was part of humanity once again. There is an amazing connection between human contact and a sense of belonging. We all yearn to belong and often are so desperate (as in the middle of this race), we’ll hang on to someone or something as our major lifeline. That lifeline might change as the hours or days go by, but we are always looking for one – something to hold on to, to grasp with all our might.
I learned to be vulnerable and although I felt initially that it did mean I was weak, that belief soon changed. I felt wonderful when people showed up in my life asking if I needed help. I felt so welcome and as if I was really a part of the human race. It was amazing. Help is good for you and good for the person rendering the help! If you want to give something to someone else, let them help you and maybe even ask them for it.
Read on to see some other people who became such a big part of my life – not just at the race but forever in my life. Miles come and miles go but people never leave you. How much do you remember about mile 280 for example? But how much do you remember about “x” person who drove by, pulled over and asked if you were okay? I remember them no matter how short the interaction was. Often, with my speed (or lack thereof) I spent more time in a certain mile than with a person, but I guarantee I remember the interaction much more than the mile.
Life Lesson – Asking for and receiving help is healthy! Try it and see how your emotional well-being changes for the better. See how wonderful you feel. As they say, “Try it, you’ll like it.”