It’s odd, isn’t it? Just when we are certain we can handle any challenge that comes our way – without, heaven forbid, asking for help - life does a 360. We suddenly find ourselves in a serious predicament. It hits us like a bolt of lightning – life cannot always be a solo act. We might need fast action and physical help with a medical emergency, or simply wise advice with a worrisome dilemma. Whatever the situation, we cannot handle it alone.
Self-reliance is a laudable trait, and one to be applauded. Yet, when trouble knocks, nothing replaces having family and friends to answer the door. If we do not have these special people, we discover how much we need them.
For many reasons, we humans seem to make it just as difficult for others to give us help, as it is for us to ask for help. Pride is usually the biggest reason. But pride is like self-reliance – we need it. So how do we mingle self-reliance and pride, with the willingness to give and receive? According to those who do it well, it takes patience, planning and empathy.
Recently a man who is, possibly, the best friend one could have, reminded me that we should prepare the help stage in advance. Our friends need to know we will not think they are incapable or needy if they come to us for help. They need to know we will consider it an honor to be asked. Another thing, this remarkable giver suggested is … get in the habit of doing something without being asked … make a meal, offer to baby sit. Every spontaneous and thoughtful gesture, he believes, helps pave the way for friends to ask for help when the asking is hardest.
Why is this topic suddenly top of my mind? Because recently this self-reliant woman - OK it was me - found herself needing help. It turned out not to be the emergency envisioned. Still, a quick call and a friend was there; faster than 911, a reassuring rock. Confirmation of the word friend.
Barbara Streisand got it right when she sang … ‘People who need people are the luckiest people in the world…’ Believe it.
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By the way, I almost didn’t send this; telling myself … my friends already know this. I sent it anyway figuring we all need a reminder.