When I have a need, say of a long ladder so the chimney sweeper coming for his annual visit can get up on the roof, or a car for a few hours or a day, or help to take care of Pop the cat for a few days, or whatever really – my first instinct is to think about my friends. Might there amongst them be someone who can help me, or at least point me in a direction that could solve my problem/tend to my need?
I think it always has been my initial reaction. But I’m not sure.
I know I started to get really good at asking for help once my first marriage crashed and burned five weeks before the birth of my eldest child. Have a hard time to recall if I was as good at asking for help before that, but have a feeling I was. At least pretty good at it. But ever since that crash and burn, I’ve gotten really good at asking for help, and am proud of it!
The other possible reaction is to look for a service provider to tend to the need. Buy a ladder. Call a taxi or book a car in a carpool. Get Pop a few days vacation at a cattery.
These two approaches to life, and to solving one’s needs, are just that, two different approaches. I for one instinctively go for the first, and if that doesn’t work out, choose a suitable service provider to ensure I get my needs met. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. But… at the same time, the benefits of the first approach, of asking near and dear ones for help, has some (perhaps not so) hidden advantages to it. If I ask you for help, and you can help, the likelihood of you asking me, or others, for help when you need it increases. In this way, we weave a tapestry of relationship, of friendship, of live, concern and care. If I always turn to a professional service provider to help me out, I am effectively not weaving myself into that tapestry of mutual relationships, and I think that’s a dangerous path to choose.
We know that one of the most significant indicators of happiness is the strength of a person’s relationships. Asking for, and responding to requests for, help, is definitely one important part of relationship-building. We are better together, that’s the superpower of human beings. If I don’t do my bit in giving others the chance to help me, I am holding back on strengthening relationships not just for my own sake, but also for those close to me, am I not? And what message am I sending, by not asking for help? Is it a signal I want to send?
So perhaps… I am wrong in saying there’s nothing inherently good nor bad in these two approaches? Perhaps there is more good to be had from asking for help, than from paying a service provider? At least if I never ever ask anyone for help. But perhaps people like that simply do not exist?