The Sage sits patiently, a humored smirk across his face, watching as his trainee tirelessly attempts to hack down a tree for their firewood. The student has been at it for hours; he’s growing weary, frustrated, and is contemplating surrender. The Master can easily see that his student’s grip is not correct and the angle of the axe is slightly off—with just a minor adjustment, the trainee could have saved himself much trouble and time. Finally, the student collapses in exhaustion and the Master approaches. He says nothing. Simply takes the axe, shows his student the proper grip and practices the proper swing. The student rises, copies his master, and finally with a single swoop, the tree falls. “Your pride has defeated you,” remarks the Master. “Next time, ask for help.” The teacher smirks again and walks off humbly.
Many of us find it is easier to offer help than to ask for it. Being of service is of course rewarding and fulfilling; though focusing on others’ problems is also an easy way to take our minds off our own challenges. Indeed, this world is full of martyrs—those willing to help others, but unable to care for themselves by getting the help THEY need.
There are many reasons we don’t ask for help. Many people feel too prideful to ask. Perhaps they feel it is a sign of weakness. Or they feel ashamed of even having the challenges with which they need help, as if somehow they are supposed to be perfect or without obstacles in their lives. However, learning to ask for help is one of the most significant changes a man or woman can make. Asking for and receiving help is not a sign of weakness or an admittance of defeat; rather, it is a sign of strength and fortitude, as it shows you are unwilling to give up and that you are strong enough to admit where you need assistance. Asking for help is also a true way to show yourself that you care, accept, and love YOU.
We often admire those who ask for help or gain support, but we sometimes neglect to do the same for ourselves. Remember, all humans throughout history have only accomplished any major feats with the help of one another. We all need each other! For support, for guidance, for insight. And you might just be surprised how others react and open up to you when you’re willing to ask them for help. You may even be surprised to discover that the one you ask to help have actually dealt with or are now dealing with very similar challenges.
Next time you can’t figure something out on your own, or you’re feeling down, or you just generally need help…ask for it! Your connection with others will absolutely blossom; and the fulfillment you’ll feel as a result of such self-care will flourish.