Every one of us finds ourselves in situations where we can not do everything on our own. What we do at that moment has a great bearing on how well we are able to cope with the seemingly impossible challenges we face in our lives. Actually, asking for help starts the moment we are born. Much has been written about how traumatic it is to enter this world. The cry that either comes naturally or is prompted in every newborn infant serves multiple purposes. This action fills the baby’s lungs with air. At the same time it serves to ask everyone around for the basics of survival. The newborn infant stops crying when those around hear the call for help and make the appropriate response.
Crying continues for a while as at least one of the ways a young child asks those around for help. The temperament of the child and the responses from those in the child’s environment help determine how much of the process of asking for help consists of crying and how much takes other forms, some more verbal and some more pleasant.
We all know children who seem pleasant and polite in their basic orientation to life. Is it possible their requests for help are responded to in ways that bring satisfaction and reinforce the process of asking for help in a basically pleasant manner? Of course, no one, especially a young child, is pleasant all the time, especially in the stressful process of asking for help. As we grow into adulthood, basic patterns emerge and develop. How we go about asking for help in our relationships has a lot to do with how successfully we maintain and develop satisfying and productive relationships with others.
As adults, how we ask for help has everything to do with our starting point when we confront the need for help. Some people think only in terms of how something will affect them. When these people need help, nothing matters other than getting the help they need. They often lose sight of the effect their getting help might have on others. One of the things they might overlook is the feelings others might have in being part of their getting the help they need.
Another person might recognize their need for help and honestly and openly share that. Very often, others will respond with a willingness to help meet the need. Like so many things in life, the difference is often our point of view. We all need help at times. The difference in the willingness of others to offer us the help can be in our willingness and ability to be open with others about our need for help.
As we move forward, it can help us remember that everyone needs help at times. As we think about our willingness to help others, it can be useful to remember how it feels to have someone take our feelings into consideration when we ask them for help. May we both offer and ask for help in a spirit of always being mindful of the role of others in the process.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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