Why Ask for Help?

A Beginner’s Guide to Being Humble

Most people in western society genuinely don’t know why we should ask for help. Most people take pride in their independence. No more do we walk next door to ask our neighbors for a cup of sugar. We have money and we have cars, so we buy it from the store instead. In fact, if a neighbor stopped by your house and asked for a cup of sugar, several thoughts might roll through your head. If your neighbor asked for a cup of sugar would you…

  1. Fear that they’re trying to harm you in some way?
  2. Judge them for being stupid (not planning ahead), poor (not owning a car or having money for sugar), or weak (what sort of person actually asks for help anyways)?
  3. Become annoyed because they’re taking the sugar that you worked hard to buy?

These reactions aren’t uncommon. After all, we’re not used to someone asking us for help, particularly someone that we don’t know well. So instead of building stronger communities every time small needs like this arise, we try to do everything on their own. And when we can’t do something on our own, we pay people to do it for us–like moving or babysitting.

Mark Boyle, also known as The Moneyless Man, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Money has come to replace community as the primary source of security.” We dedicate the bulk of our energy into earning money, forgetting that there are other, more enjoyable, ways to meet our needs. In fact, asking for help can rebuild our sense of community. Benjamin Franklin said, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” The story goes that this fellow hated Ben. No matter how nice Ben was, this guy wouldn’t budge. But one day, Ben asked to borrow a book. From then on out, they were fast friends. This works because, counter-intuitively, our behavior shapes our opinions. In other words, if you can get someone to enjoy doing any certain behavior that might otherwise be a bother to them–like helping you move–they’ll think more favorably of helping people move (and of you) in the future.
The thing is, the world is full of people who want to connect with you. But we’re not giving them the chance. Amanda Palmer is one of the few musicians who actually allows people to help her, giving them the opportunity to form a personal relationship with her through Couchsurfing, backstage snacks, and jam sessions. But as you’ll hear in her TED talk, it’s not all hugs and rainbows. Remember how one might judge a neighbor asking for sugar? Well, people think she’s getting too much figurative sugar when she could afford to buy it from the store. But that’s not the point. She asks and I ask in order to welcome people into our lives, to connect. When outsiders see that generosity directed towards you, they judge you because they’re jealous. Yes, sometimes the mantra that Mean Girls tell themselves is true.

People might be jealous of the kindness that you receive because they’re too afraid to ask for that kindness themselves. So let’s talk about the top five reason why people should overcome their fear of asking for help.

Top 5 Reasons to Ask For Help

1.) Because you can’t do it alone.

Sometimes you actually don’t have the ability or time to do something. Instead of paying for someone else to care about your problem, try asking someone for help first.

2.) Because you don't want to do it alone.

Whether you’re painting a room or going to see if your test results were positive, it’s better to have someone with whom to share the experience.

3.) Because it builds communities.

When you ask someone for help, they’ll feel comfortable asking you for help and you’ll feel comfortable asking them again and so on and so forth. It’s a good cycle.

4.) Because it'll make your helper feel good.

5.) Because it'll make you feel good.

There’s no warmer, more humbling feel than when someone goes out of their way to help you. But you have to ask for help first.

Hello friend, my name is Laura and I'm a caregiver in "early retirement," hitchhiking around the world. I made this blog to keep me on track of my goal, to give and ask for help everyday--and to inspire others to do the same. As the sort of person who used to refuse even the simplest of help, this is a trying task. But the rewards are greater than you could imagine. Click here to learn more or contact me at Laura.Shiley@Gmail.Com

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