As soon as I saw the prompt, a song came to mind:
“When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way.”
Of course it wasn’t really true, but it was how I acted: Miss Independent- that was me!
The feeling that I had to be strong for everyone else, combined with the defensive wall I’d built around myself, meant that I refused to ask for help no matter how much I needed it.
I was always quick to help other people, but if anyone offered to help me, I would brush them away. I could handle life on my own…
“But now those days are gone, I’m not so self-assured. Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.”
The start of the change was finding a group of good Christian friends for the first time- a group of people who genuinely cared, who would not accept my continual reassurances that I was fine, but who actually wanted to know how I really was. I could feel the wall slowly beginning to come down.
The turning point came when a friend offered to help me one day. I had been battling with illness and exhaustion, and with too many demands on my time. Her offer to take a task off my hands was exactly what I needed. It was the perfect offer of help. But still my instinct was to say no. I didn’t want to be a burden.
Fortunately I paused long enough to be able to think more clearly. I had to admit that I was struggling to cope and her help was just what I needed. It would have been foolish to refuse.
Also, I realised, I had helped her several times in the past and I had never considered her to be a burden. It had been a pleasure to be able to help. Why should it be any different when the roles were reversed? The only reason was pride.
I like how Brene Brown expresses it: “Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
The truth is help is a two-way street. We all need help and we all need each other, and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask.
(I couldn’t find a good Beatles version of the song, but here’s one from Glee.)