My move to Los Angeles, CA. led me to an epiphany about the need to ask others for help.
I was so determined to be independent that the very idea of needing someone to do anything for me hurt my feelings and would bring me to tears. I’d cry and pout partly because of my pride, partly because of my only child syndrome, and partly because of fear of rejection. Further, I didn’t want to feel obligated to anyone nor have the help thrown back up in my face.
There are moments in life where you just don’t have a choice but to ask for help, like the day I needed a ride to rent a car. Anyone who’s ever been to LA knows you can barely get across the sidewalk without a car. So I reluctantly asked a musician acquaintance for a ride. As we rode I began to tell him how hard it was for me to ask for his help. I went on to describe how I was used to being the person helping others, how it was a more rewarding and comfortable position for me than being on the receiving end.
This gentleman blew me away when he suggested that perhaps I was not as giving as I thought I was; that I might actually be selfish. He said that his gift, talent or interest might actually be driving people around the city and that I almost prevented him from sharing it, had I not called. Sound like game?
Maybe. But he took his point a step further. He told me that when you try to do everything by yourself you may be preventing someone else from fulfilling their purpose and using their talents, gifts and abilities to bless you, which would ultimately bless them. He then suggested that I might be selfish by always wanting to be the giver, thus, never allowing anyone else to help. My mind raced. I could not believe it. Had I become a greedy giver?
While I could have challenged his statements, the truth is he left me speechless. What he said made sense and hit me hard. I needed to examine myself and admit that sometimes helping others was more about wanting all the glory, being a big shot, being in control. Asking for help from others made me like a helpless little girl; it made me feel like people might somehow think less of me. Somewhere in my mind I didn’t feel I deserved the help of others. If someone helped me, that meant I didn’t do things my way; or I was less accomplished. When it came down to it, I realized that I had a chip on my shoulder, I was a control freak, and that I was afraid of exposing my weaknesses, my humanity.
When we truly let down our guard to allow someone to help us, it often means that they will discern our shortcomings, and the image that they had of us might be diminished.