Asking for and Receiving Support (Why Is It So Hard?)


What is your earliest memory? It may hold the key to the identity you have built for yourself (which perhaps you may want to amend).

My earliest memory is from when I was around 3 years old, and my family was visiting my grandparents. My grandmother asked me kindly, “How are you, Diane?” To which I replied, “My name isn’t Diane. I’m The Lone Ranger!”

I don’t know where that came from. Perhaps when I was hospitalized for the first 6 weeks of my life and operated on for an abdominal obstruction, my little heart came to believe that I had to go it alone in the world. Then, when I watched The Lone Ranger show, that whole “save the world by being different, by fighting for the right thing, by doing/seeing things your own way” took hold.

(I recently watched this program on Youtube. I couldn’t get through more than two.)

Somehow the “Lone Ranger” icon stayed in the culture, and with my subconscious mind for a long time. Growing up, I didn’t have much support for being who I was. I was truly a Lone Ranger, but one who figured out how to get what I need and learn what I need to know. Without any help from anyone (because then, it just wasn’t there).

The approach served me well. Or so I thought.

Until …  It didn’t.

When you go through multiple crises one right after another, you will either fold under it or you will realize being a Lone Ranger, in terms of going it alone, does not work. You reach out for help–from God, and from other people.

Some of us learned as children that if you reach out, help will not be there. Yet if we have the courage as adults to question that belief, and to choose a different way, we can find that the support is there.

Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

In the past two weeks, I’ve been hit with a number of big, personal challenges from a number of directions–which only got worse. When I texted my friend that I had just finished a crying jag in the bathroom, she empathized and listed in a text all the things going on for me personally, and added, “Oh, did I mention the mental drain of politics and a pandemic? That you aren’t curled up in bed is a BIG win.”’

I tell you about such things not to make you feel sorry for me, but to let you know that if you’re going through a tough time yourself (and who isn’t these days?), you’re not alone. There are ways to find strength. I will share some of mine.

At the end of last week, right in the midst of the personal challenges, I attended a most amazing (virtual) retreat time that clarified my vision as to the legacy I’m called to leave, what I have to let go of to fulfill that, and what kinds of support God has graciously provided along the way.

My friend who validated my experience and pointed out the “big win” was one huge support. A couple of other close friends said pretty much the same thing. What a wonderful thing to have friends who can validate your feelings and spur you on!

It’s a strange thing about support. Whereas not too long ago I felt alone and overwhelmed, totally unsupported, now I am aware of so much support. What made the change? Was it me? Has that support been there all along?

I believe it’s mostly me. The changes inside me, the healing that has occurred, opened me up to both asking for and receiving support. I just hadn’t looked for it, or been open to receiving it. I was fully entrenched in what I’ve heard called Capable Woman Syndrome.

Also, as I healed (over lots of time), I slowly attracted more people who knew how to be supportive. I was no longer willing to put up with relationships that were exploitative, manipulative, or just plain unhealthy.

By being willing to be vulnerable and share what’s really going on with me with trustworthy friends, I got different perspectives on my situations. I reached out to friends and family, to my attorney, to a couple of therapists, my grief recovery specialist, and support groups. Each gave me a perspective on what was going on. They helped me face some harsh realities, but also pointed out some of the things they saw in me that encouraged me that I can get through all this.

Then, taking all their input through the filter of prayer, I became clearer on both what was true and what I need to do and–just as important–not do. Sometimes you have to let go to let in. I was able to see the bright spots of grace in the darkness (and there were several).

I was able to get curious about what good might come out of some very bad situations, trusting that indeed, God is able to bring good out of anything. (Remember, curiosity runs on the same brain circuits as fear/anxiety, so you can’t feel curiosity and fear at the same time.)

In fact, in my most recent Immanuel Prayer session, I got the message, “In curiosity and trust is peace.”

Curiosity, trust—and support. Oh what a difference these can make!

If you feel you need some support from someone who cares and can help you with the transformation you seek, check out my packages at


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