Self-Awareness 101 Episode 25: Facing Fear: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
In this episode Willard discusses facing fear inspired by a quote from Melba Cosgrove. Do you accept help freely and with enthusiasm? Or are you the kind of person who needs to "do it yourself"? Have you explored why you refuse help from others? Willard explores both the fears he uncovered, as well as the "selfish" side of saying no to others when they are trying to be of service to you.
Today we're going to discuss a quote regarding facing fear by Melba Cosgrove, “Be brave enough to accept the help of others."
What an interesting phrase: "Be brave enough to accept the help of others”. She didn't say be open enough, she didn't say be willing enough, she didn't say, be humble enough, but she specifically chose the word "brave".
I think that's what impacted me so much about that quote. I never looked at it from that perspective before of accepting help equating to facing fear. Why would I have to be brave to accept help from someone? As I looked at that question in more detail, I found that there was much I was scared of.
For a moment, let me turn it around and ask you a question. When someone offers you help, do you without question accept that help? Or do you often say, "No, no, no, that's okay, I can do it." Maybe it is a co-worker offering help on a project at work. Maybe it is a stranger offering to help getting your groceries into or out of the car. Take a moment and become aware of how you normally respond. What is your "knee-jerk" response to anything that someone offers you help with? Be honest with yourself, what is your normal response?
I believe that there are some people who accept help willingly; they have no problem with saying yes when someone offers. Others refuse it, even fight it, at every turn; I was one of those people who would not only refuse help, but would be adamant that I was "fine" while thanking them for the offer.
When I read that quote from Melba, at first it didn't even hit me. But the more I looked at it, I began to become more aware of the perspective of being "brave enough", I started to question, "If this is about avoiding facing fear, what is it that I am scared of?"
The more I explored this question, I found that my resistance truly was about facing fear, and there were more than a few:
If I accepted help I was scared that I would look weak to other people. If someone else had to help me do something then that meant I wasn't capable of doing it myself.
Another perspective was the fear that if I let someone else help me, they wouldn't do it right. Then I would have to do it again anyway, and I would look like I failed because I made the choice to let them do it in the first place.
A totally reversed perspective was, if I let someone help me, they may show me up; they may do better than I would have done on my own and then I would have failed again.
I never realized it before, but I was avoiding facing fear much more than I would have ever admitted to by saying no when someone offered help.
Now I do have to say that early on in my life saying no was a huge "developmental tool" for me. When I lost my leg, people were trying to do everything for me. They were very well meaning in trying to take care of me, but they weren't allowing me to do things on my own at all. So I drew a line in the sand and I said, "No. I need to be self-sufficient. I need to be independent." And I found ways to do things myself, including things that other people said were not possible.
Because of that, I believed that I was a Master at facing fear. I lettered in high school wrestling. I lettered in high school football. I was the first known amputee motorcyclist in PA. If you have watched my other videos or read some of my articles you may have seen where I have discussed these things before. What I learned over time was that drive to not let people help me defined me in a very specific way. I perceived myself as being "driven" and I would often push myself to the breaking point to "get it done" and live up to the Identity I had created in my own mind.
But that same trait also got to a point where it was very detrimental. There is a saying I have learned that says, "Your greatest strength, is also your greatest weakness." Without realizing it, by creating that Identity for myself, I started to sabotage many areas of my life. It was easier to say "no" when someone offered help, and then avoid taking the action myself because I was facing fear of failing. But if I took no action, I could say I just "decided not to".
Another detriment to saying no all the time was because I was so self sufficient, I robbed myself of the opportunities for team work, I missed out on the benefits of becoming part of a team and working on things with other people. Without realizing it I had robbed myself of relationships that could have blossomed through that teamwork and the lessons I could have learned that would have helped me in so many other areas of my life.
Beyond avoiding facing fear, a friend of mine pointed out, and I'm using his words, by refusing the help of others, I became "a very selfish bastard." When he said that, I was really taken off guard. My response was, "Dude, (yes I actually used to call people dude) what are you talking about?" Until that experience I believed that I was one of the most giving people around. Not only was I completely self-sufficient, I had found ways to do all these things so that when other people needed help, I was more than willing and able to help them out. But again, I had created such strong perception of myself that I was trying to live up to that God-forbid someone offered me help; immediately I would reply, "No, no, no, I got it covered." And I would proceed to do it by myself. Even when it was something that I truly could have used help with.
He pointed out to me how I was being selfish by asking me a simple question. He said, "How do you feel when you're able to help somebody do something, even if they could have done it by themselves? How do you feel when you're able to help?" I said, "Of course it makes me feel good." His response was, "Okay. Then why are you robbing someone else of that same great feeling that you love to feel so much? That is being selfish."
I had to look at it from this new perspective, and I couldn't come up with an intelligent answer to defend myself. I had to agree with him that I was being selfish. That started a process of be becoming more willing to accept help, but for several years I would still brush off the "smaller" requests from people wanting to help. Several years later, Melba's quote helped me looked at it from a different point of view, the idea that I was avoiding facing fear by saying no, and moved me to the next level of personal growth and accepting the help I was offered.
As I explored this new idea of "facing fear" when it came to accepting help from others, I realized that I was actually very scared; I had created this perception of myself and was afraid that if I allowed someone to help me with my groceries or do something, other people would think, "Oh there's that poor guy, he can't do it on his own." It was a fear of how I'd be perceived. And the reality i have found is... nobody is paying attention and no one is judging me. It was simply my fear, the old acronym, "False Evidence Appearing Real".
As I explored the idea of facing fear more I found that I was also afraid that people couldn't do it the way I needed it, or wanted it done. Again, I've learned that I was totally wrong; I've learned since facing those fears and accepting help that many times, I am amazed at the new approaches that someone else will use that I never would have thought of. And an even greater benefit has been that some of the greatest friendships that I have, and the greatest relationships that I have developed, have been because I've said yes when somebody offered help.
By committing to facing fear and growing, I've learned so much about the other person and about myself. I've improved my abilities in many areas by learning from their strengths. Facing fear opened me up to new possibilities, just because I was brave enough to step outside of my comfort zone.
I still don't do it all the time. I can be at the grocery store, that seems to be the biggest place where people offer help, because they see a man on crutches, carrying these bags, and people offer to help. When I'm not thinking about it I still say, "No thank you. I'm okay, I'm good." Then I realize later what I have done and commit to doing better. Over time I have definitely reduced the percentage of how often I refuse help.
So why is this important to you? Actually, it may, or it may not be. You won't know until you actually become aware if you're accepting help or not. So, for the next week, I'd like you to become super sensitive, to how you react and how you respond when people do offer you help. Even with something as simple as someone offering to open a door for you. Notice how you respond. Do you have to be the one who ends up opening the door? Is your reaction, "No, no, no, let me get it for you." That's how I used to respond. Or do you allow them to open it and say thank you graciously and walk through?
When it comes to a project at work do you accept help that's offered to you, or do you do it yourself? Again, the first part is becoming aware of how you respond.
The second part is, I'd like you at the end of the day, to write in your journal about it. Look at it, and become aware of why you said yes when you accepted the help. Then reflect on how it felt. Journal about when and why you said no. Pay attention to how it felt. Was there a fear of something that prevented you from saying yes? Where could you have accepted help, but you turned it down? Where could you have offered help?
It's a very interesting experience when you start to recognize that your saying no as a way to avoid facing fear and realize how it is preventing you from a whole new experience that you could have had. There is so much you could experience with with this person and so much you could learn by accepting help on that specific project.
So again, for the next seven days, be super sensitive to when you accept and refuse help. Then at the end of the day, do your best to make some journal entries, think about it again and ask yourself what was I scared of? Where could I have done a better job of facing fear?
I look forward to your feedback on this, I look forward to hearing what you've learned about yourself, and I look forward to sharing time with you again soon. Take Care.
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Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode