“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” –James Baldwin

Awareness really is where everything starts. Until one is aware, nothing can change. This involves self inquiry. Peeling back the layers inside; getting to the root issue. Let’s look at asking for help as an example.

Asking for help on the surface doesn’t sound like a hard thing to do, but why does it feel that way at times? In my recovery healing work, I discovered much peeling back of my layers. Sometimes, we were made to believe certain things through our environment growing up, our culture, and work experiences—to name a few. As we peel back layers, we often realize some of our conditioning wasn’t true (or true for us as individuals). We also need to face our shadow side as it oozes through our layers.

In certain areas, it was easy for me to ask for help, but in other areas it was difficult. I had to peel back the layers in myself to discern why. Unconsciously, I often took on other people’s emotions; so, I didn’t even attempt to ask for help from certain people. Because I took on their emotions, I felt I was going to be a “burden“, or I would rationalize they had too much on their plate and it would be selfish of me to ask for help with something I needed. Sometimes, I didn’t ask because I feared the rejection or confrontation it might bring. These are merely examples of some of this self realization.

The other part of the self realization is that by not asking, I cut myself off from receiving any help at all! Had I asked, at least some of the time I would’ve received help. I not only hurt myself in this equation, but I didn’t give the other(s) an opportunity to rise to the occasion and give help when asked. It also didn’t allow for any collaboration or creative ideas to come up that could’ve been “win-win” for those involved. Maybe I would not have received help in the way I thought I would, but it had the potential to be even better!

It’s true, nothing changed until I faced things within myself versus wishing others would change. If I continued not asking for help, I was certainly not going to get it! Change began to happen as awareness increased and I faced issues within myself and did inner work to heal. I gained confidence to ask for help in many situations I had not previously. Also true, I needed to accept that sometimes I may be rejected or I may not get the help I wanted or in the way I wanted. Now I know from experience it’s worth the risk —by asking I will get some help, and sometimes it’s even better than I imagined!

The next time a situation in your life arises and you feel there’s never going to be a change – look inside and peel back a layer, and face what’s there. This awareness will change you and from there the potential is unlimited!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.