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Getting Support to Thrive and Prosper
The effects of our individualistic society
When you’re facing an obstacle or challenge, how inclined are you to seek aid? If you’re like most, you probably face it alone … and that solitary preference can block you from experiencing many gifts. What’s behind your “Assistance Resistance”?
I recently asked friends on my professional page on Facebook what they actions they take when faced with a challenge or obstacle — do they actively seek out help? And if they do seek help, where do they get that help (i.e., friends, clergy, therapists, counselors, coaches etc.)? If they don’t seek help, what do they do?
The question was spurred by a conversation I had earlier that day with a woman, who had implied that hiring a coach was a sign of failure, failure for not being able to achieve something on her own. She indicated that she felt some measure of shame at not having a clearer picture of what she wanted to do with her professional career.
The answers to my Facebook question confirmed what I feel is a rather strong (and frankly, sad) trend here in the U.S.: That most people do not seek help from someone else, instead preferring self-reliant solutions, or asking for help only as a matter of last resort.
To me it creates a double bind, wherein we live in a culture that places a great deal of emphasis on success and Achieving the American Dream, but also takes away the necessary support structures to get there.
Seeking assistance and support help you thrive and flourish – two key ingredients for cultivating prosperity.
I often wonder if people’s insulated, solitary reactions correlate to a condition called “The Lonely American”, (The Lonely American – Drifting Apart in the Twenty First Century by Drs. Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz) in which we increasingly live socially exclusive lives and suffer from diminished happiness, health, and longevity as well as increased aggression.
Indeed, if you look at some research studies conducted in the past decade, you’ll see some startling parallels. For instance, a recent study by sociologists at Duke and the University of Arizona found that, on average, most adults only have two people they can talk to about the most important subjects in their lives such as serious health problems. And about one-quarter have no close confidants at all.
Another study published in the American Sociological Review in 2006 showed that one in four Americans had no close friends or confidants, no one with whom they could discuss personal issues.
These statistics regarding an increasingly isolated society is concerning. I know how important my spiritual community and my friends were (and still are) on my journey throughout life, and most certainly how important community is when the going gets tough. Back in 2008, when I was diagnosed with cancer, not only did my spiritual community hold several healing ceremonies for me, several devoted friends who wanted to ensure my comfort and good cheer accompanied me to my various tests and post-surgical check ups.
By seeking (whether consciously or unconsciously) to remain solitary (i.e., refusing to seek help), we deny the fact that we are socially connected beings who need to cooperate and help one another, to ensure that we thrive and flourish (two key elements of prosperity). And when we deny that reality, we deny ourselves the deepest magic of our humanity.
Part Two – “Assistance Resistance” Misperceptions Dispelled – coming soon.
Ready to become more prosperous? Interested in breaking the patterns of isolation and fear to achieve your dreams? Please email me: Linda@aurorasana.com
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