If you needed help, would you ask for it? Before you answer, think about that. Think really hard. I’m not so sure the answer is yes.
I thought about how we don’t ask for help when we truly need it when I read about Michael Martine’s car accident. His Jeep and a cliff wall had sat down for tea together, and Michael found himself thankful to be alive… only without wheels.
He could have gone home and stared at the walls, wondering how on earth he’ll find the money for a new car so that he could get to work. He could have shuffled his credit cards to decide which one had enough space to cough up a down payment. He could have asked friends to help.
Michael posted about his car accident on his blog, and flat out asked for help. I don’t know many people who would have the guts to do the same.
I’ve faced tough times myself, more than I’d like to count. I’ve stood by the mailbox staring at an unexpected bill I just received, wondering how in god’s name would I ever find the money to pay it. I’ve used credit cards to cover the bills, putting myself deeper in debt to pay the debt I had.
I rarely asked for help – and truthfully? I think more of us should be like Michael, honest and brave enough to ask for what we need.
Michael isn’t stupid, either. He’s a rather brilliant man, in fact. He knows there are plenty of other people in the world who need help. I’m sure it was hard for him to sit down and write that post, and I’m positive he knew he might have to answer, “Why you?”
He asked anyways.
He took his courage in his hands (and most likely a very deep breath) and asked for help to raise funds for a down payment so that he could get a car, get to work and support his family. He also tried to find a way that he could give back for the help he received, too, giving his time and expertise in return for donations.
For both those reasons, for having the strength to know when to ask – and in a very public way – and for finding a way to give back to those who gave, I think Michael deserves applause.
I know many, many people who don’t ask for help exactly when they should. They think they have to be tough and take care of themselves. They believe that if they got themselves into this mess, they should get themselves out. They’re worried and stressed.
They’re preventing themselves from overcoming obstacles because they can’t ask for help.
I’d be one of those people, too. I have no trouble asking for help in certain areas, and then there are other times when I’d rather choke on stones before admitting I could use a hand. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to admit I need help. I don’t want to show weakness to others.
(Hey. I have appearances to keep up, y’know?)
The problem is that we’ve become so caught up in maintaining appearances for others, so guilty that we need help when we already have so much, so fearful of what people think of us that we can’t do what we need to do and set ourselves up for more unhappiness.
Tough times are part of life? Suck it up and deal with it? Get out of your own mess? Who are you to ask for help when there are people who need it more?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
I like to think that we don’t have to suck it up. I like to think that I don’t have to guilt-trip myself thinking of huge organizations trying to save the world. I’d love to help save the world, and I do what I can.
But I also like to think that if a friend asks for my help, I’ll be there, and that if I have the courage to ask, my friends that are there for me too.
All we need to do is learn to admit we need the help and start to ask for what we need.
In spirit of this thread and Michael’s willingness to ask for what he needs, we’ve set up a HelpLine Exchange over at our forum. Feel free to come and ask for help – and to give back as well.