Asking for Help

“We don’t take charity.”
“Accepting help is a weakness.”
“No thanks, I can do it on my own.”

It’s so hard to ask for help. It’s almost impossible to accept money, food, solutions, or unexpected gifts from people we know. Worse still from people we barely know. We don’t want to be weak. We don’t want to take things we feel we should be able to provide on our own. It makes us feel helpless and low.

Sometimes, we need to take another perspective on asking for help. When we ask for help, we are giving another person the chance to be generous. To give from the heart. To help another person. Even if that’s us.

It is an act of generosity to others to need help and ask for it.

It is an act of humility to give help without making the other person feel diminished.

It is a tremendous act of courage to accept help graciously and let another person feel useful and helpful. Because you have been on the other side and know that “give” and “take” are both different sides of the same situation.

-Quinn McDonald hates taking, but knows without a taker, givers would not complete the circle of grace.

14 thoughts on “Asking for Help

  1. In what seems a life time ago (and in some ways it was), I was on my own out of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship when I discovered I was a pregnant. I struggled with taking because of the assumptions I had on what people were thinking. Such as that I was unable to cope, or couldn’t do it on my own, so I felt a need to do it all. To prove myself to everyone, including myself and my son. It led to a breakdown eventually.

    Nothing like hitting rock bottom, to change one’s perspective somewhat. I still struggle with the taking graciously, I try not to over think it, that can be one of my worst traits.

    Getting made redundant, and asking my beloved for help was another related lesson.

    I much prefer the giving. Still.

  2. It’s the first thing I learned when I had cancer in 1995: people want to help! It was a coincidence that the Murrah Building bombing happened at the same time and I saw and felt what a blessing it was to be able to help in some way when a tragedy strikes. So now, if someone asks if they can help if I’m in some kind of problem, I have learned to answer, yes, please, and to be specific in what kind of help will REALLY help me. Sometimes, it’s just to sit by me and wait for other help to arrive; sometimes to help open a door or carry a bag. The good feeling comes to both of us.

  3. About 10 years ago I was very ill. I found that I had no choice but to ask for help. Simple things like walking out the door to emptying the trash or getting the mail were impossible tasks without help. I was quickly reminded of how blessed I am with friends. Asking for help was very difficult for me but when asked, all stepped up with grace and kindness. I will forever be changed by their kindness.

  4. I suspect, but have no data, that people in societies with rites/traditions/events/rituals creating a clear demarcation between childhood and adulthood might exhibit less resistance to accepting help. When it’s a bit vague about when (and whether) you are fully mature, an offer of help is easily confused. A defining characteristic of childhood is requiring assistance. When that’s still in question, accepting help might define you in a way you want to avoid.

    If you _know_ you’re an adult because you bleeked the smerge (or doffed the melmo) then accepting help might be less likely to make you feel small, vulnerable, and controlled.

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