Next time you down play whatever challenges life has to offer, consider why you are doing it. Do you not want people to worry about you? Do you want to sound stronger than you are? Do you just not know how to ask for help?

Consider exactly what it is you want as you tell people about your challenges. Ask. On the other side of things, if you are person who knows someone who is strong, dealing with a life challenge, then don’t hesitate to ask and let them know you are there. I recall a neighbor calling my father and just checking in with him. Towards the end, my father even thanked him. Anyone who knows my father, and his ferocious independence would understand such a thank you is huge.

I have a friend who is a minimizer. The other day she sent me an email telling me about some major health problems that will culminate in a triple by pass next week. It was an email that with a subject that said, “FYI”, so apparently I wouldn’t be shocked. Or something.

I know her well enough to call her and send her another email and laugh at her for down playing something in her life that has to be very scary, very life changing and very worrying. I also know that the worry she doesn’t want me to feel is mine to deal with. I’ll let her know I care and that I worry, but reassure her I can handle the worry. I asked her up front what she needed–for me to stay here and let her vent, leave her alone or come down and spend time with her (or as I put it hover). I knew she’d hate the last one but if everyone else was doing it, she might appreciate someone to run interference with the more enthusiastic hoverers.

For now, I wait here. I’ll send her more emails (as obviously she has internet access) and let her know about light things that she can read and if she wants to, to ponder. I’ll give priority to any emails she sends. I’ll also be waiting to leave home if she asks–but for her that would be huge. I know it’s huge and I won’t hesitate to drop everything and go if she asks. I’ll also be sending as many positive thoughts as I can.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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