Many of us equate success as independence, and we often believe independence means doing everything yourself. I’m very guilty of the latter. Asking for help is perhaps my biggest challenge. Growing up with a chronic illness, I learned at a very young age how to care for myself. My parents raised a fiercely independent child in that way. And, my father always wanted to make sure I knew how to take care of my own finances and administrative stuff like health insurance & taxes. So, I grew up to be just that — independent to a fault. The problem is, there will come a time when you need help.
Learning how to DO something comes easy to me, learning how NOT to do something or to let someone help is not so easy. Pride is considered by many religious philosophies a sin (to use a familiar nomenclature), and for good reason. Pride can keep us from experiencing the loving kindness of another human being if we close ourselves off to accepting that gift.
I ended up with an injury last year, and I was on crutches. I had no choice but to ask for help from people I know, and to literally rely on the kindness of strangers to help with doors, elevators, and their overall patience. It was a struggle for me — even as I was trapped by my condition — to reach out. The fear wasn’t that my friends and family wouldn’t be there, but that they would be resentful or put out by my need.
To my ego’s surprise, not a single person made me feel as if I was a burden. In fact, in some ways, our relationship grew as we connected on an innately human level.
Asking for help teaches us to let go, to trust, to be humble. Ric Ocasek once said, “Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.”
Just as you are fulfilled to be there for a friend in need, give someone else the chance to be fulfilled by helping you.
– Your Charmed Yogi