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The Power of Flailing

I recently told a friend I was really going through it and I didn’t feel like anyone would show up for me. It’s a common thought I seem to have when I’m struggling and feel trapped in my emotion mind rather than my logic mind. She gave me a really dark, but extremely helpful analogy I wanted to share. She explained that when young children are drowning they don’t flail their arms, they simply sink.

Now stay with me here. I know that’s dark.

She asked me a simple and extraordinarily powerful question “Does anyone in your life know how much you’re struggling? Have you flailed or are you just silently sinking?” And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I downplay my pain when I’m struggling. And if I’m not downplaying, I’m actively ignoring people checking in on me or asking how I’m doing. How can anyone know I need help if I don’t let people know that I need it?

Look, I know in our darkest moments we often worry about being a burden. However, if we don’t at least ask for some assistance from our community, there is an almost 100% chance we will not get it. People can’t possibly understand our situation if we don’t let them know there is even a situation. It’s incredibly vulnerable to open yourself up, but this is how we start building our support networks and communities. By allowing ourselves to rely on others and let others rely on us, we can lift one another up and help one another heal. We just have to be willing to flail.