I have always been the kind of person who hates asking for help. That is because most of my life I have done pretty well helping myself, and because of that I had learned that there is nothing I couldn’t figure out if I put my mind to it, no challenge I couldn’t overcome and no problem I couldn’t fix. It was an internalized lesson, one that largely occurred without realizing it, one bored in by experience. For an example, I have had to teach myself the English language, it was just me and books and unwavering effort in my part. I became this self-helping person out of necessity because of my situation, where I grew up and the conditions there. This affirmed to me the value of being independent.
Since then I have been helping a lot of people in my life. From broken computers, relationships, the craft of writing to education and much more. And each time a friend wanted to talk or fix problem I have been there. But each time I helped some people, and as I grew, I have had a sense that people asking for help where lazy, stupid and ridiculous, especially in circumstances where they could have fixed their problem with little effort. People like that made me irritable. I patronized and despised them. So the act of asking for help was disgusting in my eyes because I associated it with undesirable traits like laziness, stupidity and ridiculousness. I firmly believed that people should ask for help when they truly needed it, when they had no options left, otherwise they are being lazy, stupid and ridiculous and should be shot in the head.
It sounds intuitively right that people should ask for help when they really need it, but I have come to think this is absolutely wrong. I have asked for help, mostly when I had no options and each moment I would be embarrassed that I even asked for help. One such moment was when I needed to go to the hospital urgently because I was in debilitating pain, something that might have killed me if I had not, so I asked for help from a friend. Another time was when things got so bad I had complete meltdown and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. These are extreme circumstances, it is ridiculous to think that things should be so bad before one asks for help or assistance. Surely, things don’t have to go that far. I could have died.
People should at least ask for help when the situation at hand starts taking a toll on their well-being. We all know when we are too stressed or struggling, these are perfect ground to ask for help. You don’t have to wait until there are no options but asking for help. So this week I did something I never do, I asked for help when I felt overwhelmed by work or stuck. The response I got was truly surprising and eye-opening. Many people where happy to help, some went beyond what I had asked of them and I made friends in the process. The result? I am lighter, calmer and stress free. I have realized humans are naturally altruistic, if not by their will it’s because society demands us to be or we rationally see the value in collaboration, either way it is magical.
Looking back at my life, I see the success and progress I might have had if I had learned when it was to ask for help, if I had just done what everyone else was doing around me. I don’t always have to be perfect, have it together or figured out. I have been ridiculously stupid, I have killed myself by thinking I could be. I wouldn’t have been in that hospital, I would have graduated early and my career would be miles ahead of where it is now.
Asking for help is a valid problem solving method. It is good for your health, your life, your career and the people win your life. It encourages unity, collaboration and facilitates growth.