Some people just can’t ask for help. They don’t know how. I wonder if I fall in that category? Why do I feel that I have to always portray ‘all is well’ with me? Why am I constantly on the edge – thinking if I ask for help, it means that I’m failing…loosing it…unable to cope…and the obvious, I’m not a ‘strong’ person! 

I feel torn.

A close friend had once advised, ‘if you tell yourself, you’re strong and smile in the face of adversity – you’re bound to be happier. Always think of the positive and you’ll be fine.’

I’ve tried that.

Another good friend blocks all adversity by simply overlooking it – she keeps saying ‘jaane de, hota hain!’ (literally translated it means – let it go, it happens). If something goes wrong, she refuses to dwell on it. She looks for ways of either alleviating it or refuses to let the situation upset her. She quickly moves on.

I’ve tried that too.

My sister, a firm believer in The Secret, The Miracle says ‘be grateful for every moment, experience, relationship. Only dwell on the positives and when confronted by the negative, look carefully and you will find something good there too – the more grateful you are, the more you will receive everything that is good.’ Its worked wonders for her.

I’ve also tried that.

But these don’t tell me how to ask for help. They’re all good friends who understand me and sense something is amiss even before I can say anything. They’re always ready to hear me out but do they really listen?

My close friend will find a funny thing to say to ease the tension believing that it’s key to any uncertainty in life – ‘just find the funny side, there always is one. Don’t take life seriously!’

My good friend openly says, ‘get it out of your system and you’ll feel lighter. Once its out, let it go.’ But is that a solution? Perhaps I’m not as practical as she is. She’s no longer the person I’d met 9 years ago. Yes, she’s still as caring, her sensitive nature to lend support and help still remains intact – but there is a harshness to it. The practicality of the situation is more important to her than its emotional impact. I know she emotionally connects but its no longer her natural reaction to situations – she lives in the moment, the present. The past doesn’t matter and she refuses to think about the future as its not here yet and she’ll only deal with it when the future becomes the present. But doesn’t blocking off your feelings mean that you’re not addressing the crux of the matter? Isn’t that escapism?

My sister will simply ask me to be calm – to look at a situation as it is without freaking out, first – as that’s my most natural reaction! She’d ask me to step back and assess the situation before responding, reacting. But why do I need to block off my gut response? Is it because the gut response has now just become a habitual response – it’s mostly not the one the situation actually warrants? Is it because it doesn’t lead to any good as loosing my cool only means raised voices? Is it because I’m always aware of people’s expectations of me?

If I objectively look at their advice, then they’re each telling me the same thing in different ways – this is their answer to my plea for help. It works for them. Perhaps it can work for me too – provided I can let go, provided I don’t find reasons to belittle or doubt myself, provided I’m not always wanting to dig deep for answers or solutions. Perhaps I should accept that there isn’t always an answer to find or a solution to every problem. Perhaps I should acknowledge that it’s only my response to a situation that can bring closure.

Perhaps its time to redefine the meaning of ‘strength.’ As the German poet and novelist, Hermann Hesse says, “some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it’s just letting go.”