AwareNow: Issue 28: The Mental Edition

Page 169

‘RELEASE THE GENIE’ EXCLUSIVE COLUMN BY PAUL S. ROGERS

ARE YOU SMART & BRAVE? REACH OUT AND BE BOTH

Release The Genie Fact: A Genie Does Talk About Bruno. I thought, for this month's article, we would have a game, you, the reader, and myself, to see how many of the phrases below sound familiar or you have heard someone else say before. No judgment, I am guilty of them all!

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it”.

- Marc Amend.

Wow! A fantastic quote! And if you are like me, each part of that phrase is as important as the other. I admit I have to get a lot smarter and braver. If you are one of the smart and brave ones, you are my hero.

One of my all-time favourite and fun questions to ask people who I am interviewing or have coached is “Who is your hero? And why?” The reason I love this question is that with the qualities they love and admire most about their hero, they are actually unknowingly describing the best qualities of themselves. Try it out, you will be pleasantly surprised.

“We define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and in turn our ideals define us.”

- Scott Labarge

It seems that we can, with great ease, talk about other people's qualities that we admire. However, it is a different story when it comes to talking about and recognizing these same qualities in ourselves.

It is the same when we are preparing resumes or introducing ourselves. Everyone at some time has thought “Why don't I just ask my friend to introduce or write this for me?” How much easier that would be! Instead, there is this uncomfortable sentiment holding us back from blowing our own trumpets; bragging or showing off is generally frowned upon.

Is it any wonder then that we find it so difficult when it comes to asking for help for ourselves? We would rather struggle in silence than make a fuss. One of the reasons I love this magazine is that, every month, we witness stories of people bursting these disempowered illusions. I believe that these stories of overcoming the odds gives the rest of us hope to do the same.

Personally, I have come to realize that asking for help is wrongly associated with giving up control. In a situation when you feel out of control, any scrap of self-reliance becomes an island.

I live in French-speaking Quebec and my medical team has great fun teasing me about my British stiff upper lip approach and masterful understatements. For example, when my surgeon asked how I was doing before my brain surgery, I replied “It could have been worse.” He later told me he wanted to say “Yes, you could be dead”. In my defense, you only need to think of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s ‘The Search For The Holy Grail’: “Nasty injury you have there.” The Black Knight actually had all of his limbs chopped off in a sword fight. His very British reply, “It's fine, it's just a flesh wound”.

One of my mental health traits is my ability to minimise my chronic pain symptoms when I am talking to people. I have managed to get really good at it. To the point where I can fool myself that, maybe, my pain tolerance has got greater. I have seen that I subconsciously make others around me feel more comfortable. The reality is that I am excluding myself from being made to feel more comfortable. 169 AWARENOW / THE MENTAL EDITION

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