When the chips are down, asking for help can be risky business. There are some folks, however, who are all too comfortable leaning on others; they are altogether an entirely different story. For must of us though, asking for help is like making a deal with the devil. It means admitting that we are not the rugged, problem solving individuals that society expects us to be. Once we ask for it, we surrender our control; we become weak, needy and incompetent. We have a tendency to act as though it’s a complete and total character deficiency, as if we are letting our guards down to somehow invite hurt and embarrassment in. God forbid our request for help is used against us. We worry about what will be expected of us in return. What price must we pay for this help since modern civilization has adopted a reciprocal relationship system (tit-for-tat) so that we don’t feel indebted to those who answered our call? There is also the fear that we may present our request to the wrong individual and then suffer with a lifelong hovering and patronizing relationship.
Help me. How can two little words (three if you’re polite about it) have so much drama attached to it? And where did the drama come from? Deep down inside us – in one of our special places – lies an insidious beast that operates solely and inconspicuously on preventing our humility from being nurtured. This beast is Egocentricity. This egocentric thinking keeps us wrapped up in our own definition of a thing, even if it may be false. Most individuals, especially those that genuinely love us, want to help us and more importantly have a need to help us. They derive a pleasure, a personal satisfaction, and a (perhaps fleeting) sense of purpose to something outside themselves – when helping others.
People ask me for help all the time, and I give it… freely. I also know that I don’t judge those that ask me for help, nor do I condemn them to my egocentric thinking. On the contrary, I credit their strength and courage to recognize their limits as well as their willingness to stretch outside themselves to push past what they know – into what they don’t know. And sometimes this means requesting help. How can I consider this to be a strength in others and yet a weakness in myself?
In order for me to even the playing field, I need to let my ego know that I can not be identified on the basis of my achievements – or lack thereof. It should also learn that I have no need to always be right, (even though I do really like to be) and that I am superior only to my former self. I will not concern myself with what others think of me, even if their opinions are valued and loved. Life is not a game to be won, nor to divide it’s participants into groups of winners and losers based on our own egocentrically driven ideals.
Trust, not control, will determine my course. Faith in another, not certainty of outcome, will be my guide. We can’t always know/be/do everything, sometimes we will need help, even if it is just a safe place to express that we can’t always know/be/do everything. I will apply this understanding to myself and I will be better at asking for help, more direct in my approach and with less consideration to my unfaultering ego.
The choice is mine. Now it’s time for a chat with my pride…