I don’t like asking for help. It’s not because I don’t need it or don’t want it. I do, especially these days. No, I don’t like asking for help because I know that people are busy and I feel bad asking them to do more. Also, sometimes asking for help makes me feel insecure because I feel like I am admitting that I can’t do it on my own while thinking that I should be able to.
It’s silly that I have such difficulty asking for help. After all, we are called to love one another and one way to do that is to serve one another. That’s what the corporal work of mercy are about, showing charity to each other by feeding, giving drink, clothing, sheltering, visiting and burying (the dead). The thing I’m realizing is, how can we serve each other if we don’t know each others’ needs? We are increasingly isolating ourselves, and the result is so many of us feel alone and abandoned. So while I don’t like asking for help I know it’s something I need to do more often. Not just for myself, but for those around me. I also need to ask others if they need help, and help in whatever ways I can. By being more open about our needs it allows us the chance to serve each other which may result in a deepening of friendship and love for each other.
Over the last year I have been discovering some things about asking for help.
Be humble. Admit you need help when you do. I have been surprised by how eager others are to help you when you ask.
Be specific. If I make a general call for help, I’ve notice that people get overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. Fair enough. Do I need someone to watch the little ones for an hour or someone to help me shovel the drive way? It helps to be specific and it makes people see more clearly how to help out.
Be grateful and generous. Nobody likes feeling taken advantage of. Showing gratitude openly and generously is important. Perhaps share some freshly baked goods, a jar of homemade jam or an offer to return the favour in the future.
Do you find asking for help challenging? What are some things you’ve discovered about asking for help? Howe about offering help?