The act of helping someone can be so simple, yet life-changing. For the one you help, and maybe even for you, too.
Just a couple of days ago, I read a post about knowing when to help. Or rather knowing when not to help. It was a great reminder for me to give people the space they need. Often times I offer my help without them asking. Why? Because I think they need help; because I want to save them some time; because I think I can teach them something; because I think I can do it better.
Have you ever tried to help, but were rejected? I know I have. And it hurts. After all, you are trying to HELP them. How ungrateful can they be? But the truth is that I know my help is not always needed. Sometimes people want to do something on their own so they can be proud of their achievement. They want to know they can do it without you holding their hand, or pushing them along, or micro-managing. Sometimes, they are simply tired of living in your shadow. They are tired of you always being better than them, and they feel like you helping them showcases that disparity even more. They want to live up to your expectations all on their own. Of course, many times people are not ready for our help, because they do not even know they need it. Or maybe they do but are in denial for the time being.
Help is delicate. It is like a rope being held by two people at opposing ends. If you want to help, but the other person does not grab onto the rope, you end up with the twine all by yourself. On top of that, the person that might need help has no way of following the rope to find you. The scenario is reversed when you need help, but never ask for it – you pull the rope and end up all by yourself. The point is to wiggle the cable, to pull it slightly, signaling your intentions. Once both parties are holding on with the same amount of strength, they can go on and do amazing things.
I do not recall asking for help in the last few days. Asking for help is not my strong suit, but I do not see it as anything bad. Time and time again, people would prove unreliable to me. Kids borrowing things from me and swearing they would bring it the very next day and it not happening. If I cannot trust them with a pencil, book, toy, a few cents, then how can I trust them with anything else? It was never about the objects they borrowed, but the principle of not caring enough to hold to their word. How do I trust someone that is late every single time? I choose not to.
There are times when I give people a chance, because it is not a big thing, and I feel like giving it a shot, and then find their job to be sub-par. That just strengthens my reasoning for the future – I could have done it SO much better. Now I have to either be ashamed of their product or waste time on re-doing it? No, thank you.
Even though I do not often ask for help, I do try and make it known that I am down to help whoever needs me. I tried to come up with an answer to: “Why do I want to help so much?”, but I could not really get past: “Because I do”. I never wait for reciprocity. I mean, if I ever need help and I helped you in the past, it would be nice if you were able to come through, but I know that does not always happen. I am alright with that. Maybe I just like feeling useful? Maybe it tickles my ego?
Yesterday, I was asked for help. You would think I was happy, but I was not. No questions asked I helped. Of course. However, I did so with a rather unhappy demeanor. Why? Because I did not think the ask was important enough. I thought it was silly in fact. I thought it was something that person could have done by themselves. I felt like they were burying me in the smallest of tasks. I felt insignificant. Only good for non-important things. For things that can be done by anyone. I felt dispensable.
However, as I sat down to this post, I realized that I should have not felt that way. I was asked for help, which meant I was important enough to reach out to. It occurred to me that those tasks might have seemed minuscule to me, but there were not such to the person who asked for help. I made their life easier, without inconveniencing myself. How was that a bad thing?
That taught me that there is art in asking for help, but also in the act of accepting to help.
Is it easy for you to ask for help?
How do you feel about accepting help?
Have you ever refused help?
How does it make you feel when people ask you for help?
Please feel free to share a helping story that changed your life, or helped you change someone else’s.
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