I hate asking for help. There, I said it.
And yet, as a person who lives with chronic illness, there are often times when I need help. Certainly no one is going to read my mind and accommodate my needs without my asking. So why is it so difficult to ask for a few minutes of assistance with a task or an hour or two of help to get a project done?
I had a tangly lesson on this subject the other evening. I had bought a beautiful skein of Berroco Borealis yarn, and it was wrapped and twisted together. I unwrapped it, then untwisted it, and found that the yarn was simply wound in a large circle.
When I was young and living with my parents, my mother would ask me to help her with her yarn. She would untwist it and then give it to me to hold taut, to keep it from tangling, while she wrapped it into a ball.
As I studied this yarn, I glanced over at Jim, my husband, who was sending a text on his cell phone. Not wanting to inconvenience him by asking to hold my circle of yarn while I wrap it, I set it on my lap, thinking I could do it all myself.
It didn’t take long until the yarn became a tangled mess. For the next two hours, as I untangled the yarn and wrapped it onto a tube to make a pull-skein, I contemplated how stubbornly I avoid asking for help. The lesson of the tangled yarn continued when my pull-skein got tangled as well.
Why do some of us insist on stubbornly going it alone, rather than calling on another person for help? I know I am not the only one who has this problem. Yet, when I imagine the opposite scenario, that someone could use my help, I am almost always happy to help.
I once read that if you want to befriend someone, ask the person for help. The theory was that when you ask someone for help, that person notices you and thinks positive thoughts about you, and will likely oblige. I have no idea if that is really how it works, but it does make some sense. Being asked for help makes us feel needed or important to another person. Just make it a reasonable request!
When we avoid asking for help, not only do we not get the help we need, but we deny others the opportunity to give help, and to feel good about helping.
Ironically, as I began to write this post, my husband crashed into the house, breathless and agitated because he is in charge of making a pot of chili for dinner at church, and had just been called into a meeting this afternoon. He asked if I could take over the cooking for him. Of course I could.
One of my goals for the next few week and months is to ask for help when I need it; even to look for opportunities to ask for help and gracefully accept the help I get.
How about you? Do you struggle with asking others for help? Have you learned to ask more readily? Please comment below.