"No one will be able to help me anyway, why should I bother sharing my challenges with others? I also don't want to be vulnerable in front of others."
If we ask ourselves honestly, how many of us have had these thoughts and how many of us desire someone else's support but have not dared to seek it?
The answer is many, especially amongst females. Having interacted with and having coached many, i realized that many people do not share their challenges with others because they feel that at the end of the day, they would have to be the ones acting on their own to address the problem anyway and no one else can help them. In China, this could be a result of an education system where students are encouraged not to discuss but to think for themselves because they would be on their own in the examinations (gaokao).There are also those who do not wish to share because they fear being vulnerable. They feel judged by others that it becomes so hard to be vulnerable, even to ourselves.
The consequences of this is then a heavy heart, a loss of energy as a result of emotional drain and a potentially higher risk of psychological issues. This can impact anyone and everyone, regardless of age.
"If you have siblings, please stand up."
"If you have ever felt judged, please stand up."
In an activity session on diversity and inclusion, we played a game where we had to reflect on times when we had felt ostracised and to admit it by standing up.
The lady beside me stood up.
"Would you be able to share what happened for you?", asked the trainer to the lady.
Even before opening her mouth, tears welled up in her eyes and began streaming down her cheeks. Emotions stirred in me and i thought to myself,"i should lend her a helping hand."
That was when I realized that when others allow themselves to be vulnerable, the chances of them receiving help is higher than putting up a strong front. I began to recall all the times when i had secretly desired help but did not dare to reveal my needs and vulnerability. When we allow ourselves to be authentic with ourselves and to openly seek help, we will be surprised by how liberating it can be. However, we have to select who we choose to be open to - those who are non-judgmental and who are able to provide a good listening ear - or it would make us feel worse.
Of course, it would not always be possible for others to solve our problems for us. Even if they could provide us with solutions, the real question is, would we necessarily abide by them? We may have sought help from friends previously but felt that their solutions were not aligned to what our inner being says, and hence do not feel that our challenges have been addressed.
It is thus important that we share our problems with others without an expectation for them to provide a solution. The sharing of our thoughts and challenges is an invitation to others to share their perspectives on how they might solve our challenges. This may result in us broadening our breadth of knowledge and understanding of our own situation and to see it in a new light. In the process, the solution may reveal itself.
Alternatively, we can consider coaching. In coaching, coaches do not provide a solution. Rather, coaches work with clients in a creative and thought-provoking process and provide them with the space to search within themselves and uncover their blindspots to discover their own solutions. This is essential because it means that the clients themselves are empowered and will be willing to take on the course of action suggested by themselves.
by Shane Yan Shiyan & Shamantha Yan Shiya
Growthbeans is a social enterprise that empowers individuals within communities to grow in a meaningful and connected world with Growthbeans. Growthbeans offers coaching-infused programmes to deepen self-awareness, strengthen people skills and enhance growth, well-being and inclusivity.
Contact us: Growthbeans@savoir-asia.com