Help is a funny animal. We all need it. We all offer it from time to time, some of us more than others. But the odd thing about help is that when we need it the most, we don’t ask for it. In fact, at least in my case, I do everything in my power not to ask for it. Odd, that. Don’t you think?
I’ve found that when I’m not doing well or feeling down the last thing in the world I want is for other people to know about it. There is some shame or something attached to it for me. As though in my heart of hearts, I believe that I am always supposed to be strong. Always supposed to know what to do and how to solve my problems. That despite the fact that I have some very incredible friends often they are the last to know when something is wrong with me. Excluding of course, those who know me so well, I don’t have to say anything because they can tell something is up.
I have often wondered why I feel there is such stigma attached to needing help. Is it just the flat out neediness of it all? That it’s just too embarrassing to show the world or some small faction of it that I too can be vulnerable, can feel lost and without the wisdom to find my way out of something? Perhaps.
Although, in my experience if you want to visit betrayal on yourself the fastest way to do it is to ask for help. I don’t know why that is and I don’t know if I am the only one who has experienced this (I doubt it, though) but it seems on the few occasions that I have asked for help, what I have received instead are lectures, resentment and insults. I have been told in no uncertain terms that I should have not gotten myself in whatever position I found myself in, that I was smarter than that or worse, the cliche phrase, “What were you thinking?” As if to infer I’d taken some sort of stupid pill that day.
And so, I guess at least in part because of this I have decided that biting the bullet is the only way to get through it. That to just fall and fall again until I somehow learn on my own how to get up is my only avenue and I’d best get used to it. And I’d venture to say that there are many of us out there who feel the same way and have had the same experience.
It’s ironic at best and fricking scary at worst. I’m reminded of that song, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, I think there may be some wisdom in those words. Friends and family tell you all the time, if there is anything I can do, let me know. Then you tell them and oops they can’t really do that. They didn’t really mean that. Right? So the mixed messages don’t do anything to help either. It’s hard enough to swallow your pride and ask someone if they can help you but to then get a firestorm of I told you so’s really just adds insult to injury.
Still, there must be a way around it. There must be a way to be able to ask for help when you need it without suffering further humiliation and hurt. I don’t think I know what it is but I’d like to. I’d like to understand what the boundaries are not just for others but for myself. When should you ask for help? Right away? No, at that point you probably still think you can handle things. Maybe midway through? Well by that time you’re already screwing up pretty badly and who wants to admit that? Then again, if pride is what got you there in the first place, having more helpings of that isn’t going to do anything either, is it? Usually, I’m afraid that most of us ask for help when we simply can’t take it anymore and even the humiliation is better than whatever the situation is, right? Yeah, that’s probably right.
There is no easy way to ask for help and too, there is no easy way to accept the help you need. Maybe that is why I try go out of my way to offer help to people – not that I have a whole lot to offer but I never want any friend of mine to feel like that can’t ask and especially to feel like the answer will be no. We’re all infinitely flawed individuals and to think otherwise is folly at best. This is something I need to be better at myself, asking for help. I don’t and I should. It would probably save me a lot of heartache in the end if I could find the words and swallow my pride. If I could stop expecting myself to be perfect and to always know the right thing to do and the correct solutions to my problems. It is something I plan to work on this year, learning that, realizing that and accepting that. Maybe it won’t be such a hard lesson to learn though probably it will be quite difficult knowing me as I do.
I wonder, what about you guys, do you have as hard a time as I do with this?