I shared a list of my accomplishments with my action partner this morning, and her feedback was, “I love how you have built so much support for yourself.” She reiterated the helpers I’d named–a copy writer, therapist, colleagues and fellows, doctors, etc. –  and emphasized what a mark of strength it is to ask for help – paid, professional and/or personal along the way.

I am grateful to all the people I consider my team. I am who I am because of their support, love, wisdom and care.

This was not the message I received growing up. We were a DIY family before the do-it-yourself acronym came into the vernacular. My mother would say, as I reached the breakfast table in the morning, “And, of course, you’ve read in the Times ‘xyz’,” which made me feel behind and I hadn’t even left the house for school yet. Before I had corn flakes, I had failed to measure up to some undefined standard. I’m 100% confident that it was never her intention to make me feel less than, but it had that effect.

I signed up for courses I was pretty sure I could master, never attempted a field that was completely unknown to me for fear of failure. Too risky. I had to have the answers before the question was asked. This is not a good method for acquiring information. My curiosity got buried in shame. That changed over the next several decades, but the etched-in belief that I have to figure it out is my default response. I’ve learned to recognize it, take a breath, and reach out for help to get out of my own way.

As this year and decade come to a close, I want to wish you all a beautiful season of light, joy, serenity and celebration. I also want to send you a thought and a wish:

You are not alone. Ever. There is someone out there (if you’re reading this, count on it that I’m one of your fans) who cares and would be infinitely pleased with your outreach call. It’s simple. Pick up the phone or type in their name and say, “I was just thinking about you. How are you?” Imagine if YOU received that message from someone on these very short, very dark days of winter. How would you feel? Consider bestowing that joy onto someone you care about who might be feeling alone during this season. When you give what you’re missing, you stop missing it.

May the New Year bring you delight, satisfaction and love.

 

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