It’s interesting to think about how much easier it is for us to offer help to others than it is to ask for help when we need it. I wonder if it’s because there can be such a fine line between asking for assistance because we’re too scared to try something new and asking for help because what we want to accomplish is bigger than we are when standing alone.
There’s also a fine line between equipping and enabling someone when we extend a helping hand or take care of someone’s problems for them.
Depending on the situation there can be a variety of reasons that we don’t, but should ask for support. We might not ask because we care deeply about the work we do and believe that no one else can do whatever it is we pride ourselves in with the same level of quality. It could be stubborn pride that gets in our way or maybe we fear feeling vulnerable.
Likewise, there are different reasons that it can be difficult to decide whether or not to loan money, ignore irresponsible behavior, or offer guidance as listen for the umpteenth time to the same diatribe of dilemmas and self-inflicted problems.
As humans we’re faced with some difficult questions. How do we know when to ask for help and when to tough it out and solve our problems on our own? When is the right time to loan someone a few, or more than a few dollars so they can make it until their next paycheck? At what point does listening to someone rant change from being supportive to detrimental, both to ourselves and the person who can’t move past the issue?
Like many people, it can be hard for me to ask for help for all of the reasons I mentioned. I guess I have to ask myself a few questions.
Am I reluctant to delegate certain tasks because I’m afraid they won’t be done right or because I’m afraid of becoming big? In other words, am I engineering myself to be small by hanging onto the little tasks and because I’m a little afraid of what it means to be reach my full potential?
It’s a no brainer for me to say that sometimes both stubborn pride and a fear of being seen as vulnerable or weak kept me from reaching out many times. I can say with confidence that I’ve overcome the fear of being seen as weak, but there is still some work that needs to be done when it comes to the stubborn pride.
Knowing when and how to help someone can be equally as challenging. Reality is that sometimes the best way to help someone is to let them figure things out on their own. If we go through life fixing things for people, they never learn how to problem solve and end up in a constant state of needing help.
There’s also a very real part of life, and that is, that sometimes people stumble or bad things happen to them and they have no way out of the situation unless someone reaches out a hand to help them get back on their feet or take the next step.
Honesty, trust, confidence, and communication are key for both the recipient and the provider of help.
Honesty about the cause of the problem or issue so that an individual can either heal or grow as a result. Mutual trust that the assistance offered will be put to good use and not squandered away. There’s a need for confidence that the offer for help is made with the belief that the person receiving it is worthy and will succeed and confidence that the request for help is made with a sincere and open heart.
Last but not least communication; there’s nothing worse than finding out there’s a problem when it may be too late. The earlier and more openly the discussions occur the more likely the problems can be solved.