By Chris Taydus
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”
Those words by John Donne ring more real than ever for me recently, and as seniors that have spent decades on this planet, I hope the same is true of you. We’ve all gotten to where we are thanks to the help of others.
Sometimes asking for help can be seen as a weakness. If you can’t do it yourself, then why do it at all? Garrett Keizer, author of the book Help: The Original Human Dilemma says, “There is a tendency to act as if it’s a deficiency…There is an understandable fear that if you let your guard down, you’ll get hurt, or that this information you don’t know how to do will be used against you.”
The problem is that people tend to wait to ask for help only once the problem has progressed into a full-on crisis. Credit/Debt Counselors see it all the time. Some people choose to wait until their debt becomes a more significant problem instead of asking for simple budget counseling.
I’m sure many of us have also experienced it concerning our health as well. That ache or pain gets brushed off as nothing until it becomes unbearable. Then we find out that it was more severe than we thought, or it could have been resolved through much easier methods if we’d just asked our doctor earlier.
The reasons behind not asking for help can vary. Some people might think that asking for help makes you look weak, needy, or incompetent, but in reality, it shows strength to admit you don’t know something and proves that you truly want to learn how to do it correctly.
Others may think that asking for help may harm your relationships with someone or put them in an awkward position. A balance of give and take is essential to any healthy relationship, and offering help is part of our human nature. That is no different when others see you in need.
But how do you ask for help? M. Nora Klaver, a Chicago-based master coach, and author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need, suggests following these seven steps to make sure your request for assistance is conveyed with strength and clarity: 1. Slow down and internally identify what exactly you need assistance with in this case. 2. Recognize that you need help and that there is nothing wrong with that. 3. Seek out the best person or people to help you. 4. Ask for help. 5. Be grateful for whatever support can be provided to you. 6. Don’t just listen to what the person is saying, but how they are saying it. 7. Say “Thank You!”
Klaver finishes up by reminding readers that, “Like any skill, practice is required. The more often you ask, the more comfortable you will become. With time, miscommunication will be reduced, anxiety will lessen, and your words will become more eloquent.”
The Beatles have a 1965 song titled “Help!” in which they sing, “Help me if you can, I’m feeling down. And I do appreciate you being ‘round. Help me get my feet back on the ground. Won’t you please, please help me?”
If John, Paul, George, and Ringo can do it, I have confidence that you and I can do it as well. So take the time to analyze your current situation, and if there’s something you need help with, don’t hesitate to ask.