Judging Myself, Judging Others

“When you cannot ask for help without self-judgment, you are never really offering help without judgment.” Brene Brown

I’m sorry.  Yes, I’m sorry if I judged you.  I’m sorry that I unknowingly judged you for asking for help, when it is so hard for me to do the same.  Please accept my apology.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Global Leadership Summit in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  So many incredible speakers!  Check them out here:
http://www.growingleadership.com/gls-2013-faculty/

One speaker that really struck a cord within me was Dr. Brene Brown.  I’ve watched her Ted talks, read her blog (http://brenebrown.com/about/)  , quoted her and I have now bought her book Daring Greatly.  She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. As she spoke about vulnerability, it hit me square in the face. Brene said; “When you cannot accept and ask for help without self-judgment, then when you offer other people help, you are always doing so with judgment.”  I’ve judged myself, and therefore judged others.  Ouch!

It takes a lot for me to actually ask for help.  Self doubt comes flying at me from all directions; “Will I be seen as incapable?”, “Am I not good enough?”, “Maybe I really can’t do this.”,  “Maybe people will stop asking me to help”,  “Is what I have to say even worth sharing?”. As a leader, knowing that people are depending on me for answers, guidance and decisions, the fear grows and becomes overwhelming.

When helping other people, I try to lift them up and encourage them to share and ask for help.  Yet, when I need help, I hide.  I go silent. That’s what has happened these last couple of months.  I hid (physically and figuratively) inside my own shell, as well as hiding in bathrooms and in my house.  I went quiet on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and even texting.  It was easier.  Yet, I have been able to put on a mask and carry on with my job and volunteering.  Some days were better than others, but I managed (most days).

I have incredible friends who noticed that I haven’t been “me”.  (Texts asked if I was ok, emails to just touch base, asking  if I wanted to have coffee, offering of hugs.)  Through it all, I tried to pretend that I was “fine”.  Yet, I wasn’t.  I wasn’t being honest with myself, or them.  I wasn’t actually asking for help, but that has now changed.

Just the other day, I was having a panic attack in the grocery store.  I had a great day and was feeling good.  Then, for no reason at all, my breath became short, my stomach hurt, I couldn’t look at anyone or anything.  My husband just held me.  I left the store to let him finish paying.  Then I texted a friend.  I asked for help. I asked her to pray.  She lifted me up in prayer at that very moment.  Not only did I feel God’s presence and peace wash over me, but I felt a sense of relief in finally asking for help.

As Brene says:

“We can’t give what we do not have.  We can’t give courage when we don’t have it…We cannot give help when we can’t ask for it.”

I say that I am vulnerable and that I want to help people.  But now I’m going to act like it.  It’s easy to ask for help when it comes to physical needs, as I did when I had my hysterectomy.  But asking for help and prayer for mental needs is so much more difficult.  But here it goes…

I am not great right now.   I’m not as clear as I need to be.  I can tend to get overwhelmed.  I need sleep.  Fortunately, I do feel that I’m on an upward spiral. Thankfully, the clouds are beginning to clear.  I’ve finally had a few nights where I’ve actually slept more than a couple hours. However, I do need your prayers.  I am in a very, very busy season of my life.  I’m not looking for sympathy, but understanding. I cannot do it alone.  I need God’s strength.  I need patience, peace, energy and most of all, I need my joy back. Please pray.  Thank you.

James 5:16 (NIV)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

P.S. This post was incredibly difficult to publish.  Being my 50th post, you’d think it would get easier by now.  But truthfully, I’m freaking out.  Yet, I know that if I’m trying to inspire people to live with courage, I need to show mine.

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6 Replies to “Judging Myself, Judging Others”

  1. Really well done!!! I enjoyed it and will repost it. So true, how we think that others should ask for help, but we don’t want to do it for ourselves. Holding you up in prayer sister!

  2. Linda, I think you have a great deal of courage. Your posts really do help even if you’re still struggling. I find them encouraging, truthful ( which is hard to come by these days) & useful in so many ways. I lift you up in prayer, for strength rest & inner peace & I look forward to reading your next ‘helpful’ post. In Christs love Dora

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