I’m not very good at asking for help.
It’s not that I don’t need it, I certainly do. It’s just that I usually prefer to figure out how to do things by myself. While this may sound noble, it often leads to tasks done inefficiently or avoided altogether because I lack the time, energy, or baseline skills to get started.
On the one hand, I have learned some valuable skills over the years simply because I decided to learn how to do something myself, like build a paver patio or change the starter in my aging vehicle. On the other hand, I’ve had projects go poorly because I didn’t incorporate the help of others, like when I didn’t “call before I dug” and severed a cable with my shovel.
We are social creatures, and relying on the expertise of others—even when it is to learn something for ourselves—is a part of being human. Just as we can grow by leaning on others, others can thrive when they lean on us. There is an interplay at work, reminding me of the saying, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Scratching your own back is hard. I’ve tried.
I recently read a beautiful quote about braiding hair (which notably doesn’t apply to me anymore as the receiver 😂):
“There is such tenderness in braiding the hair of someone you love. Kindness and something more flow between the braider and the braided, the two connected by the cord of the plait.”Robin Wall Kimmerer – Braiding Sweetgrass
It struck me as a poetic and beautiful picture of the relationship between two people engaged in an activity where one is receiving the gift of another. Many people braid their own hair, it’s certainly possible, but there’s still a reason why it’s common to see one sitting in front of another while the one in front has their hair braided by the one behind. It’s easier to have someone else do it for you, and there is an exchange of touch, of humanity in the process.
After reading this quote, I had to stop and take note of it and began reflecting on the ways in my life I sometimes let others come in and help me and how relationships often benefit from this give and take. I then remembered how stubborn I am to ask for help and how perhaps I need to let go of this a little more in order to grow and build better relationships with those around me.
Reminder: Ask for help and stop trying to do it all on your own. - Yourself