Why Do We Think We Always Need To Keep It Together?

I am about to admit something scary. Here goes….

This week I started therapy.
Yep, the T-word. When you say it, people get a “Oh you poor thing” look on their face. Often there’s even a hint of shock or fear. “Omg are you okay?” “What’s wrong?” “What happened?”

Why are we so scared to admit we may need a bit of help sometimes?

We hire an accountant to help us with our finances, a fitness instructor to help with our spare tire, and a real estate agent to help us buy a money pit (oops, I mean house).
But when it comes to what’s happening in our head, we’re often terrified to ask for help. For some silly reason we believe that we should have our inner self fully sorted out at all times — otherwise something is wrong with us.

I’m a Courage Coach.

I help people have the courage to be themselves. I get to dive deep into the heads of all sorts of people and pull out their fears, their dreams, and their limiting beliefs. I know for a FACT that people often need help getting clear on who they are, what they want, and how to make it a reality.
I know that we all struggle with this at some point.

The truth is, you can’t compare people’s insides with their outsides.

Most of us walk around like everything is perfect on the outside, life is good, we’re doing it all right. But that is almost NEVER the case. For example, lots of people get nervous in social situations or networking events. They walk around thinking “Everyone looks more comfortable than I do. They all seem to be confident and having fun. Why can’t I feel like that?”
The truth is, most of those people in the room are looking at you and thinking the same thing about YOU!

We all suffer in silence because we are too horrified to show vulnerability.

But since showing vulnerability is the quickest route to building trust and strong relationships, we are losing an opportunity to connect with someone when we choose to act tough and cool like everything is a-okay, when maybe it ain’t.
You see evidence of all these bottled-up fears and emotions on the highways and city streets of big cities like Toronto. Everyone honking and yelling at each other for the SLIGHTEST mistake, because we need to let out those emotions or we’re going to explode like Mount Vesuvius.

And since it feels too scary to actually address the real emotions and fears, we take it out on the people on the road because there are no consequences to that.

But those emotions are still inside you, rotting away like the French fries I dropped under the seat of my car earlier this summer.
Mmmm, French fries.
A friend of mine was recently in Brasil where she said her local friends often spent their lunch break going to the beach, the gym or the therapist.
Yah, the therapist.
Like it’s no big deal. Because it shouldn’t be! So why do we North Americans have such an issue with it? And at the risk of stereotyping, I will say that men typically have more of an issue with it than women. But we all suffer from it.

And that’s why I’m scared to admit it.

Because I share the same fears that everyone else has – the fear of being judged negatively by other people. For me it’s EXTRA scary because it makes me feel like a fake!
After all, I’m the Coach who helps people figure out all this stuff for themselves, so why can’t I do it for myself? I’m scared people will think, “How can Billy possibly help me when he needs therapy himself? There’s no way I’m going to hire him.”

The answer is simple.

We are too close to ourselves to see it accurately. We have so much swimming around in our heads every day that it can often feel like a big stew of confusion. As a trained coach I am better than most people at self-coaching, but when the shit hits the fan and life throws me a few curveballs, I go to the experts.
They’ll help me see what I can’t see, or what I am unwilling to see.
So there you have it. A coach going for therapy and spilling the truth right here for you all to see. Right now I feel knee-deep in vulnerability which I know is a good thing, but damn it feels yucky.
Could you or someone you know use a bit of therapy? Are you holding things in, not sharing them with the people who would LOVE the chance to help you? Every time you choose not to share something vulnerable with a loved one, you are robbing them of the opportunity to help you.
Therapy simply means you want things to be better than they presently are, and you are “man enough” to admit you need some help figuring it out. You are taking a stand for yourself and not settling for second best.
So get out there, share something vulnerable with someone you trust and, god forbid, book a therapy session if you think it might help.
I won’t tell anyone.
Read More By Billy Anderson On The ManTalks Blog:
Why is It So Hard To Be Yourself?

Billy Anderson is the founder of The Courage Crusade, teaching the discipline of overcoming fear so you can have the courage to be yourself.

He is a speaker, coach and author of “Your Comfort Zone Is Killing You.” He also writes for the Careers section in The Globe & Mail.

Billy has been an advertising manager in Europe and Canada, a fundraising executive for UNICEF, an apple picker in New Zealand and a sugar cane farmer in Costa Rica.

He has traveled to over 35 countries, including running with the bulls in Spain, swimming with sharks in South America and building a school on a tiny island near Fiji. He has jumped out of an airplane exactly 101 times.  His personal philanthropy projects include carrying a canoe 42 kms in two days, as well as walking over 200 kms in the middle of winter to send kids with cancer to summer camp.

And he’s scared of the exact same things you are: failure, looking stupid, and not being liked.

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