Rock Me, Baby
I used to think I was pretty well-grounded. Believing you’re a rock with a good grasp on your life; where you’re going and that you can get there on your own, is almost a rite of passage for the young. But as the years go by I’m beginning to realize I’m not an island, and there’s a danger in thinking I have complete control over my destiny. I once had somebody tell me that when I avoid asking for help I’m denying someone the opportunity to serve me, which blesses them and helps them grow emotionally and spiritually.
Deep down I know that’s true, but I still tend to hesitate to ask for assistance. Yet, when someone comes to me for help I usually feel privileged that they’ve put their trust in me. So why shouldn’t I be willing to allow someone else the same opportunity? Is it because I think I might look stupid if I ask for help? Am I afraid of being vulnerable? Am I arrogant, thinking I should be capable of solving all my own problems? Do I hesitate because I might risk feeling connected? Or is it really just easier to go it alone?
There’s a part of me that stubbornly clings to the belief that if someone loves me they’d know how and when to help and I shouldn’t need to ask. I don’t know where I got this foolish idea, but it’s one of several thoughts that prevent me from seeking help when I need it. Most people aren’t mind readers and don’t always see when a friend or family member needs help. Others need to be given a very specific request to fulfill or they’ll waffle and hold back until you provide them with a clear directive. For example, I think one of the worst things you can say to someone who has recently experienced a trauma or tragedy is, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” That’s pretty vague. And it puts the affected person in the position having to ask for and even delegate help later, which they may not be capable of doing in the aftermath of an event. Better, would be to simply ask, “How can I help?” and wait for a reply. The person still may say they don’t need help, but at least you’re giving them the chance to ask specifically for what they need at that very moment.
Life is full of opportunities to learn to ask for help and to offer assistance to those who need it. It’s up to us to get out of our comfort zone, wade through our awkwardness and use these lessons as stepping stones for growth.