This is a lesson I teach to women who have hit brick walls in their life. It is about how to get past the brick wall. What it takes to leave the wall in our past. I have taught it at single teen mom events, classes for cancer patients and to women sitting in my chair. Be patient as it is a long lesson. A lesson that several clients have asked me to write about so they could share it with their friends. So, here goes tips for getting past the brick walls that knock us on our asses.
Hitting the Brick Wall
Women often run full speed ahead in life. While we run, we are grabbing along our path dirty clothes, bills, and the occasional fast food dinner. We as women often take care of all those things that fall upon the sidewalk of life. The tears our children cry, the needs of our spouses, the advice from our parents and our mistakes all become a part of who we are as women. Along the way we will throw wrecking balls at other people's brick walls. We are rarely looking at our own path we don't always see the huge wall that may be looming just over the hill until we run smack into it and it knocks us on our ass. That brick wall can come in the form of illness, death, a personal tragedy or depression. It does not matter what your brick wall is, it only matters that you get past it and keep moving forward.
The Brick wall is sometimes easy to climb over then it just becomes one of the hurdles of our life. However, sometimes it is buried 6 feet in the ground surrounds us on all sides and looks as tall as any building in New York. We cannot lay in wait, watching, wondering when the brick wall will fall down, crumble or move out of our way. We must build a wrecking ball. We must search for ways around the wall by trying to climb over the wall, digging under the wall or walking around the wall. How do we do that, how do we get around the brick wall? The answer is with our support team!
We need to build our support teams. Yes, we as women must learn to build a support team. It begins with putting people in our lives who are not self absorbed. People who can help build us up. People, who can also find strength in their own weakness and learn to lean on us and count on us to help them build their wrecking balls. When we do this, when we build our support team there is very little that can stand in our way.
If you try to tear down the brick wall yourself all you get is tired. When you stop to rest the brick wall can sometimes seem to rebuild. It is an honest struggle to learn the value of asking and receiving help and so I wanted to give you a few tips.
Learn to ask for help
Like many of you asking for help can be one of the hardest things to do. I will often pretend like everything is fine, avoid the phone, talk about anything else and help other people just to avoid asking for help. Fear, yes, fear keeps me from doing the one thing that needs to be done when you hit the brick wall, ask for help. What I have learned is that when you often stand on your own two feet and then you hit the brick wall people want to help you. People scramble hard to help you up. Stop living in fear when facing a brick wall you don't have time for fear ask for help.
We think the key to asking for help is knowing what we need. The truth is that it is not knowing what we need that we should worry about. It is about simply asking for something that at least helps us to push against our wall. After the fire when my family was going from the hotel to an apartment we didn't need a lot thanks to our community and insurance company. However, we wanted to keep our support circle involved and so our request was simple. After two weeks of eating fast food we asked for people to fill us with home cooked goodies. We didn't NEED the food, what we needed was the warmth and love that surrounded us as people brought food. The request does not need to big and honestly the smaller the better.
What to say when everyone is asking to help
You have hit the brick wall. You find yourself on your butt, looking up at people begging to help you. Are you alright? Can I help? Do you need anything? All you want to do is curl up in a ball and scream, "leave me alone". You want to hide from the world, you want to run into the arms of your mother and pretend you are 5 and this is only a skinned up knee. Nevertheless, your friends are there and they want to help. It is important we find a way for your friends, your support team to help you around the brick wall.
In my one class that I teach monthly I have a lecture I call "ask for an orange". It has a personal meaning to me. It goes right along with knowing how to answer, "Can I help you?".
About 2 weeks after the fire we had been eating at all these fast food places and restaurants. We were close to moving into an apartment. We were having lunch at a restaurant in town called, Fuji. I ordered a Bento box, and on that plate was half an orange. I could not think of anything I needed or loved more when I bit into the orange. I hadn't noticed that the whole time we were trying to climb over the brick wall that I had not eaten any fruit. To this day when I consider asking for what I need I remember that simple half an orange. I remember asking for another and they brought me one free. So, when you don't know what to say, ask for an orange. The thing is, it doesn't need to be an orange it just needs to be something small that could make your day a little easier.
Here are some things to ask for when you have nothing you need, but others want to help. Bottled waters: Sounds silly, ask if they bring you bottled waters you can store them in the pantry. When a disaster hits, you have bottled waters to donate. We actually did this during the fire, then when a hurricane hit we were ready with bottle waters to donate.
Cook a meal: Ask them to make your favorite dish from them from something as simple as could you make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to OMG I would kill for fried chicken. The whole time they are cooking the meal they feel like heroes.
Could you come over and watch a movie with me: This is truly one of my favorite things to do when I am hitting a brick wall. Having a girlfriend, grown child, or work friend come over and spend a silly hour or two watching something mindless while nibbling popcorn is awesome.
Could you pick up something at the store: Have them pick up a bag of chips, a soda, a hamburger and bring it to you.
Go to church, the park, the doctor's office: Ask them to go with you somewhere, anywhere.
Tell them you just need to talk: Just talk to them about anything.
When those who asked, fail you
There will always be those who say, call me, can I help you, what can I do who simply fail because of so many reasons. This can be hard when we are trying to get around our brick walls. The one thing we need is those who step up, not those who promise and then do nothing. Sometimes what we can't see over our brick wall we don't see that they too are fighting a private brick wall. They may want to help but can't. So, first forgive, but then second realize that for now that person can't be part of your support team. Know that being angry at those who promise to help and then do not, even for a moment distracts you from your battle. Therefor, you must move forward to see the light from those who truly are helping.
WHY is no one helping her?
Ah, now this is something so hard to talk about, nevertheless we must talk about it. If every time someone hits a brick wall no one around helps, you need to evaluate what kind of support person they have been. How often have they asked for help? How often have they helped others? Who are their friends? Those who always seem to ask the question, "why doesn't anyone help me?", is not the right person for your support team.
Daily, I see on social media a rant from some overwhelmed woman bashing all her friends saying how no one helps her. One look at her social media, her list of friends and her attitude on past post I can tell you exactly why she can't find a 'free' babysitter, a 'free' ride to the store, someone to help buy her kid Christmas presents. Often it begins with this, they are self absorbed they want someone to run the race for them. Sometimes, it is that they surround themselves with self absorbed friends so that they can be the one that helps everyone and never gets help. They enjoy being the victim, they will help but they will expect more back in return later. These types of people do not need to be on your support team, they zap us of energy.
If this is you if you are self absorbed or you have surround yourself with those who are self absorbed let this be your wake up call to begin to build a better support team and to be a better support team member.
I have a client (we will call her Sue) who had a friend (we will call her Betty). Betty was one of those, self absorbed friends. I watched Sue pay to have Betty's hair done with me, drive Betty around, baby sit for Betty and get Betty small jobs to help make ends meet. One day, Sue a mother of 2 who worked 3 jobs told Betty on Sue's one day off that week she couldn't babysit. Betty blasted Sue on social media, she talked about how Sue couldn't even help her do one small thing. Now, every few weeks I see Betty complaining about how she helps everyone and no one helps her. Sue on the other hand has a new support team member.
Saying Thank You
WOOT, you've gone around your brick wall. Now what? Time to say thank you. There are about a hundred ways to say Thank you. The best way is to acknowledge their contribution to your struggle. To make sure even years later if that person's name occurs in conversation to remember them and what they did to help you. To be kind and to be ready to help them battle their next brick wall. Maybe
In conclusion, remember that the best thing we can do for those we need to grateful for is to be ready to throw wrecking balls at their brick walls.