Asking for help

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We think we’re ever so independent.  But we’re not.  Photo by Stefan Spassov on Unsplash

It’s strangely hard to ask favours.  We don’t want to put others to any trouble, even if we know that they won’t refuse us.  It’s different the other way round.  When others ask us for a favour, then we do our best to help.

PRIDE

Pride plays a role in not asking for help.  We like to think of ourselves as independent, even though everything we have is by someone else’s effort, at least in part.  The food we eat has usually been found and prepared by others.  The possessions around us are rarely made solely by us.  Even what we have made ourselves owes its existence to forces that played long before we ourselves were born.

SHAME

Equally, we are sometimes ashamed to ask for help. We think it reflects on us badly, that we will be shown up as being unable to look after ourselves.  But we were never able to look after ourselves.  In your imagination, remove the whole universe except yourself, ans see what you get.  For a start, there would be no oxygen to breathe.  Secondly, there would be nothing to see, nothing to eat, nothing to support your frame under your feet.  You would die.

LIFE IS DEPENDENCE

To be alive is to be dependent. It is unclear even where you end and the universe begins.  You are irretrievably part of it, and you had better get used to it.  Yes, you can separate yourself from others.  But even then, you are dependent on life, whether plant or animal, to sustain you.

Independence is a myth, put about by those who want you to have a false sense of your own power.  Sales people will say your independence depends on a car, or a computer, or money.  Can you hear how silly this sounds?  If you were truly independent, then your existence would not depend on anything.

AN EXERCISE

Next time you have a basic need – such as food, or water, or money, or care, or company – take a moment to consider why it might be hard to ask for help from others.

  • Are you somehow too proud to lower yourself?
  • Are you too ashamed to share your situation?
  • Do you believe that it will compromise your independence?
Then, perhaps, try to ask.  Try to form a suitable set of words that might express what you need.  If you have a history of not receiving help, or being let down, this will be hard.  But it is possible that asking for help may rejoin you with the universe and make you grateful.

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SUMMARY

We find it hard to ask for help.  Sometimes we are too proud; sometimes we are too ashamed; and sometimes we are deluded that we are too independent.

But life itself is dependence.  Because of this, asking for help can rejoin you with life, the universe and everything.

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