One of the clearest signs that you need help is the fact that you keep getting into the same trouble. Be it chronic lateness, drinking too much, not getting things done, running out of money before the next pay check, shouting at your kids, giving the silent treatment….
And let’s face it. Just because there are one or two examples of not getting late, or drunk or whatever, doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. Nor does the fact that people around you don’t point it out any more. They have simply accepted that they cannot change you. Or maybe they don’t care anymore.
Recurrent personal problems are a result of habit, and these require a lot of effort and determination to overcome.
One way to start is to tell yourself that whatever your circumstances you have a role to play in getting yourself there. Without this acknowledgement you cannot get to the next step, which is to ask yourself what you could do to change where you are. And once you accept this, it is easier for you to ask yourself how you have contributed to that situation. Once you start thinking about how you could have gotten into that situation, you start seeing things that you could start or stop doing to get out of it. You stop being the victim of circumstance and become an active partner in moving your life along.
People often say, “no, there are situations that you get into without any contribution on your part.” Like, if you are always broke because your friends borrow money and don’t pay back you might say it’s because your friends don’t pay back. Perhaps you will say it’s because you are too kind to refuse a friend in need. But you can also say it’s because you don’t say no to them when they borrow. Or you can also say that it’s because you don’t enforce the lending terms.
But acknowledging that the situation has got something to do with what you do or don’t do is only the beginning. Changing that habit can be challenging.
This is why it makes sense to ask for support.
You could ask for help because you recognise you have a problem, even if you haven’t got to the stage of acknowledging or articulating how you contribute to it.
You could ask for help when you have reflected on how you contribute, and want to counter the damaging behaviour.
You could ask for help at any stage.
And if you don’t see that you need help, try asking for assistance to understand why others say that you do.
There are many professionals who can help with all sorts of issues, as long as you are willing to put yourself in their hands. And, beyond that, to make a sincere effort to put into practice the new behaviours that you and your helper will identify as required to break old habits. After all, if you only give a potter 1 kilogram of clay, she cannot make a 5 kg pot.
So next time you catch yourself doing it again, ask if it isn’t time you asked for help.