I believe it’s oftentimes hard to learn how to ask for help when we need it. I’m not talking about the unfortunate occasion when we are stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Instead, I’m suggesting that when we are struggling to keep our head above water is the hardest times to ask for assistance. Some of us may believe that being able to manage our lives, on our own, without any support, makes us special or superhuman. We feel a sense of pride in being able to keep all the balls in the air at once. Maybe we walk tall and think, “Look at me, I’ve got it all together. I can manage so much at once.” Or the opposite is true. We feel embarrassed that we can’t manage our life successfully, and this keeps us from needing others.
Giving a helping hand
The “rugged individualism” mentality that began with our forefathers and that still permeates our society today sheds undue guilt on those of us who really want to engage in the benefits of the cooperative spirit. Today, as I write this, I’m still feeling a bit guilty about asking my girlfriend to take my daughter to an appointment since I’m unable to because I’m picking up my two other daughters from school at the same time. My friend is happy to help, but my shame overshadows the relief I feel in getting help.
We need each other but we hate being so needy. However, I believe we ought to shift our perspective on this matter and see the benefits of asking others for help. Here are some of the reasons why letting others lend a hand in our lives is advantageous:
* It relieves the undue stress we feel in trying to manage it all on our own. Life could be so much easier if we all provided support to one another.
* It builds our self-confidence. Really, you wonder. Asking for help will do this? Yes. Just think how self-assured one must feel in order to be vulnerable enough to show others we aren’t perfect. This is an exercise in humility. This is character building.
* It gives others the permission to ask for help. Imagine the relief our friends and family might feel when they realize you, nor anyone else, can perfectly keep all the spinning plates, spinning, so to speak. It gives them the go-ahead to ask for help.
* It makes others feel good. I know how good it makes me feel to know I’ve helped someone who was really in need. Asking a friend for help provides an opportunity to bring joy into their life.
It took me years to begin to feel that it was acceptable to ask for assistance. While I still struggle, there is relief in knowing that when I’m in a bind, others are can and want to step in to help. Are you willing to ask for help when you need it?