Reaching out is the hardest part...
We often hear about different things to try and techniques that we can use to help our mental and physical well-being. We are sometimes told that all we need to do to ASK and we shall receive the help and advice we need. But sometimes we feel we just can’t ask for help; we can’t tell anyone we’re struggling. And we feel paralyzed to talk about our vulnerability and we feel shame.
We find ourselves listening to the same conversations, over and over again, about what we ‘should’ do to look after our well-being. But even once we have all of the information and we know what to do, we still find ourselves feeling lonely and vulnerable. And the problems can go on and on.
Asking for help and reaching out, I believe is the hardest part. With my work with teens, I have found the most common problem they come to me with is:
“I can’t raise my hand in class”
They feel paralyzed to speak when they want to ask or say something - but they don’t want to look or feel stupid. They simply want someone to understand where they’re coming from so, they don’t feel isolated or alone. They want to feel like they fit in, they want to feel understood and they want to feel connected to the people around them.
And like with most things, the longer it’s left the harder it becomes.
Is your teen feeling like this in class? Do you know?
A lot of teens that I have coached have a fear of being laughed at, being misunderstood, being called stupid or getting into trouble - simply from wanting to ask a question or speak up. This causes a feeling of disconnect from the rest of their class and can hinder them from raising their hand in the future.
Over time, this can then have a huge impact on their school work, grades and overall confidence - possibly leading to further isolation and a more serious risk to their mental well-being.
Wouldn’t it be easier if we all had the courage to ask for help the moment, we felt we needed it?
For this, we need a certain level of confidence.
When I work with teens, I teach simple skills and techniques to help them create confidence in themselves and build courage to ask for help. I challenge them with small actions and over time they feel confident raising their hand in class, asking questions and speaking up - all whilst maintaining connections to classmates and peers. And over time gradually building a safe and supportive social network for themselves.
At Home Tip
Next time you’re with your teen, why don’t you start an honest conversation and ask how they’re feeling and just give them the space to answer and be heard.
I would love to hear your stories and experiences, feel free to email them to me :-)