On not being able to ask for help

Fiona writes: At the moment I really want something. Something big. I’ll tell you what it is in due course, but for now all you need to know is that I want it, but it might be just beyond my reach.

My classic recourse when I’m in this position is to get all defensive and pretend that I can do whatever needs to be done to get what I want ON MY OWN. “I’ll find a way.” “I’ll work harder.” “Don’t worry about that little detail, everything will be just fine.”

Inside I’m quivering. I feel like a fake who’s about to be found out. I feel not-quite-worthy.

This week, I admitted to a few people close to me that I didn’t really know what I was doing. That I wasn’t as in control as I liked to think. They knew this already, of course, as they’re clever people. But it felt good to say it.

The next step is asking for help.

I don’t like asking for help. It is even worse than admitting vulnerability. The fear of being rejected is pretty strong (although the actual experience of rejection is usually not so bad). I can feel guilty about the other person putting themselves out, or taking a risk on me. I can worry that they think I’m selfish to want what I want in the first place. It might leave me in a position where I ‘owe’ them. Eugh. It’s uncomfortable enough just to WRITE about it.

Somewhere deep inside me, I know that we are all utterly dependent on each other and the earth all the time for our survival and our emotional health. But it’s so hard to really face the truth of that.

Of course, asking for help also glues the human race together. Most of the time, when we have enough resource ourselves, we love to help. We like that people trust us enough to ask. It reminds us of our own vulnerability and leaves us feeling grateful for each other.

So here goes.

Universe, will you help me?

There. That wasn’t so bad. And now I will attempt to hand it over, and it will be up to the universe whether it gives me what I want, or whether I might need something different instead.


Nepali monk by Wen-Yan King via Creative Commons with gratitude.

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