A topic I’ve visited often here is the shame people feel in asking for help. When we do so, we think we’re being weak, selfish and all-around pathetic. But, as I’ve said, that’s bullshit. Another blogger made the point so eloquently this week that it must be shared.
Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer, retreat leader and yogi with a popular blog called The Manifest-Station. Monday, at the very end of “Bitch Slap It,” she captured the power of getting help with a simplicity and directness that hit me where I live:
Asking for help is just about the best thing any of us can do. Most people don’t know this secret (so please pass it on if you would). What we think we know is usually miniscule compared to what we really don’t know at all and what we don’t know is how the world will open up and show us that we are held.
So when you say I am on a journey to be a spiritual being and I AM STUCK! I need your help I’d like to point out that the help has been granted. It’s right here. And here. And there.
I recently heard a talk from Cardinal Sean O’Malley in which he called love his favorite four-letter word. It’s a favorite of mine, too. But I hold help in equal esteem.
It’s probably one of the more misunderstood words out there. We’re bombarded almost from the moment we’re born with platitudes about how as American citizens, we can achieve anything we set our minds to. There’s truth in that, but it often gives us the false notion that greatness, even simple happiness, for that matter, is something we can rightfully lay claim to only if we achieve it all on our own. To ask for help along the way is the mark of a sissy, a coward, a lazy soul, a clingy, needy child.
What a crock of shit.
Asking for help is the mark of courage and reason. When you realize you can’t get somewhere on your own and you invite people to join you on your journey, you’re doing something selfless and giving, something generous. Not just because you’re letting people into your life, but because once you reach a certain point in the journey, you inevitably start giving back.
The person who helped you will eventually need help, too. And you will be there for them.
Thanks for the reminder, Jennifer.