What No One Tells You About Asking for Help
What no one tells you about asking for help when you desperately need it is that most people? Actually REALLY want you to.
I know. Step back. You’re probably remembering your friend Shirley right now who scoffed in your face when you asked her something painfully mundane, like, to pass the salt, thinking, “Shirley definitely doesn’t want me to ask her for help!” Well surely there are Shirleys out there who are shameful charlatans when it comes to helping humankind. (Yes, I do enjoy dropping alliterations behind me like a trail of bread crumbs, thanks for noticing!) But Shirleys of the world aside, most people are good and caring at heart. (My most sincere apologies to any readers out there who are actually named Shirley. I’m sure you’re lovely.)
So if people are so willing to help, what is the real issue? Why do we all feel that lump of pride sheepherding our pleas of need back down our gullets before they get within two inches of the atmosphere?
I have news for you. It’s not them. It’s you. (Okay, sometimes it’s them. RE: Shirley.) But most of the time it’s because we don’t know how to ask.
This past week, I needed help. My husband Mandalf was leaving on a much needed respite, and I had no one to help take care of me. Ugh. I still retch in my mouth a bit at that thought. Needing someone to take care of me at thirty. But I digress.
So I swallowed my pride and reached out to an amazing group of women, plainly asking them to take time out of their busy lives and come stay with me. I had not one, but THREE “hell, yes!” responses, and a fourth couldn’t take off work, but generously loaned her car since ours would be hanging out at JFK airport.
Flash forward a week later to when they arrived, and I found out they had always wanted to help. They just didn’t know what I needed. Because I NEVER ASKED FOR IT.
Immediate interior monologue: “You mean all this time, all those years when I felt so isolated, so cut off from the world because of a disease that kept me housebound, it was all because I didn’t know how to plainly put out what I needed? Gah! Pesky pride! A pox on your house… wait. I am the house. Scratch that…. Be gone, ye scallywag! Pesky pride. <Snort.>”
Asking for help is hard. When you’re chronically ill, you’re assailed with tsunami-force waves of guilt. Feeling like a burden. Feeling like you should be able to handle it on your own. Feeling angry at yourself that you can’t swallow this life-altering illness with complete ease and grace.
(Newsflash: You’re human. Not a droid. Although I suspect C-3PO wouldn’t be able to handle it either… super whiney, am I right? I, myself, am a die-hard R2D2 fan.)
So think about what you really need. And if you’re ready, try opening up. Be vulnerable. Let the world in. I promise, it won’t run shrieking like a kid from a haunted house. People really DO want to help. You just need to tell them how.
Until next time,