Just Asking

I’m not sure which I prefer more: solving all my own problems or not asking for help.  It’s definitely a close call though I imagine it’s the latter.

I guess, some part of me thinks asking for help is like admitting defeat.  Somewhere in my head resides some misguided sage who informs me that asking for help is an absolute, worst case, break-glass in case of emergency option.  As if, my inability to do a thing on my own renders that thing a worthless endeavor.

And this has led me to some weird thoughts.  Like, I have wondered, if I was choking or having a heart attack, would I try to get help or ask someone else to get help?  And, as messed up as it is, I have actually thought, I’d rather not ask for help.

Part of it is embarrassment, I think.  I’m embarrassed to ask for help because it would require me to both admit I am stuck on my own and I have a problem–both of which part of me labels “signs of weakness” or something.

Part of it is worry about how the helper or any onlookers will perceive my plea.  Will my asking for assistance be seen as ridiculous, unreasonable, or something exaggerated and negative?  I guess this is just another iteration of the embarrassment component, but it felt necessary to break it out.

And even weirder thing happened in school as I went along.  So, I was always pretty good at school, but there were definitely some classes that were harder than others.  And, rather than ask any questions, I just would stay silent.  This is probably typical.

But, the weird thing is sometimes I’d ask questions when I knew the answer just to demonstrate what I knew in those tough classes.  In other words, I would ask for “help,” but only to show everyone and the helper that I didn’t need any help.  How bananas is that?  I also think this weird, meta-behavior is more typical in some kinds of schools (*cough cough* law school — more on that another time).

I don’t know why I struggle to ask for help or to even ask for anything really, but I do.  I’m definitely confrontation and conflict averse.  So, that’s an element for sure.  I’m also prone to embarrassment and sensitivity.  I can get worked up pretty easily.  So, maybe, it is some kind of weird self-protectionism.

Asking for help of literally any kind can be hard.  Especially with big, weird stuff.  Like help getting started trying to achieve a lifelong dream that you haven’t really shared openly to anyone.  Or help with a personal problem.  Or help with a minor annoyance.  It’s hard to just ask.  To get the courage up to get the words out to impose upon another person.

But, we’re allegedly social animals.  And so, we historically have relied on others for all kinds of stuff because we can’t do everything on our own.  I bet that last bit isn’t changing much.

There’s just only so much a single person can accomplish without a second (third, fourth, or fifth) hand.  And yet, at least for me, it is pretty hard to even broach asking for help.

And I think, a big part of not wanting to ask for help is self-loathing.  That’s too strong of a word/term, but it’s the best I could come up with.  Maybe, the better word is self-devaluing.

I don’t want to ask for help because why would I, of all people, deserve help.  I’m just not that valuable, important, significant, etc., etc.  And that chorus of self-devaluing barbs can obstruct a person from seeking a channel, avenue, or path to resolving a very simple, resolvable issue.  And then, the self-devaluation that was once just really bad static in your head becomes destiny as you fail to get help and your problem grows larger, more intractable, and harder to deal with alone.

And so, maybe, the first and most important step in asking for assistance from others is to ask for your own.  Surely, that won’t be so hard–at least, you can pick a relatively convenient time and location.  Maybe butter yourself up with some ice cream or whiskey or whatever.

But, if you aren’t on your side, it’s hard to get a whole lot of support from others.  So, perhaps, try just asking yourself and then, maybe, find it in yourself to say yes to yourself.

I should probably try to take my own medicine.

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