If you’ve taken the time to read through any of my posts here, this confession will probably not come as any sort of surprise.
I really don’t like asking others for help.
Call me stubborn or overly-ambitious or unrealistic. But I really hate having to seek help.
It comes down to a few factors:
One, I really don’t like approaching someone else to admit that I can’t do it all. It’s not due to arrogance on my part. I just believe that I’m responsible for my choices and it grates on me when I can’t follow through on my commitments.
Two, I really, really dislike the idea of troubling other people. I would rather keep on struggling than potentially inconvenience them in order to not inconvenience me.
Three, above all, I’ve never been good at being rejected. So I would rather not ask the question at all than take the chance that once asked, someone might say no to my request for help.
Rationally, I know all these are ridiculous things to fear.
They really are all silly concerns but these do factor into why I’ve never been one to immediately ask for assistance once I’ve run into trouble.
My recent incapacitation, before and after knee surgery, just served to reinforce how silly these lifelong beliefs really are. I clearly could not function without the use of my right knee. I could not drive or walk or even get around my own house.
I had to rely on my mother to get me to appointments; to undertake the school run and to do household chores, particularly in the first couple of weeks following surgery.
I also had to learn to ask for, and accept, help from my friends who assisted with after school commitments, came to visit me at home to relieve my boredom and were there to give me both tangible and intangible support.
I must confess I felt so bad having to call on Mum for help. In addition to all the reasons listed above, there was an even bigger one holding me back.
The recent death of my father.
Dad had only been gone 5 weeks at that stage. I was sure that, amid her grief, looking after me would be the very last thing that my mother would want to do. But I had no choice – I had to ask her, although I really wish I didn’t have to.
As it turns out, she was more than happy to be busy and occupied in those first weeks. It helped distract her through the initial stage of grief. In the end she thanked me for helping HER out, when I know it was more the other way around.
The whole experience did reassure me that asking for help doesn’t mean the end of the world. I’ve even learned to lean on one of my friends for help with the kids, something that I have never previously thought of doing. I still have a long way to go but, maybe, I will learn to ask for help more often in future.
Because despite my fears, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, nor a guaranteed inconvenience for others nor likely to be answered by a big fat no.
Do you ask for help? Or are you more like me, still learning that it’s okay to seek assistance?