As long as I've been decluttering and organizing people's homes and offices, I've been wondering: Why don't people ask for help?
The minute I began to share what I do, friends and strangers alike would tell me about someone they know (and turns our everybody knows somebody) who needs my help. They are full of enthusiasm and hope that the person will definitely contact me because they've been looking for someone like me to help them. Needless to say, I rarely hear from that person.
It baffled me for years: Why won't they call?
If there's a need and the person to help, what's keeping them?
Last week I got my answer.
In a session with my coach I realized to my dismay that I myself don't ask for help.
That blew my mind, to say the least.
Being in helping professions my whole life (a nurse before I was twenty to a yoga teacher in my thirties) I thought since helping is what I do then there's nothing to look at.
I was wrong.
Giving help is a lot easier that asking for it.
I grew up in a culture where everyone around you is a resource and support.
My mother taught me from a young age to go to neighbors for anything I needed. I knew phone numbers and addresses of all of her friends in case I needed something. It was OK to ask for an egg or a cup of sugar, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to share, a place to crush or a bathroom to use.
Growing up and getting ready to leave home my mom taught me: "Just ask. Your tongue will get you anywhere you need to go." And I did.
Strangers, friends, family were all resources and support along the way. It was easy.
I knew I was not the only one I had to rely on. I had access to the wealth of knowledge and information of everyone around me by simply asking. The world felt big and full of possibilities, because I didn't just rely on me, I relied on common goodness and generosity of all. I didn't have to know it all, I was never alone. The world felt supportive and available.
Then somehow along the way things changed. I lost an ability to reach for the common goodness and generosity of those around me. I stopped asking for help. And it's not until I became aware of it in people around me that I recognized it in myself.
Somehow, we feel less than or deficient if we ask for help.
We feel we have to figure it all out on our own, otherwise... what's otherwise?
We're not good? Not smart? Not capable?
It seems to me that the only thing we're not in that moment is ... we're not connected, we're not supported, we're not held in the trust of being a worthy members of this human family. We miss out on our humanity.
As I sat with that realization after a session with my coach, I felt my body and mind relax.
The world once again started to feel big and available. All I had to do is ask and the world's best and brightest were available to me.
Think about your circle of friends. How many smart, capable, successful people do you already have in your life? How many of them have knowledge of the things you don't? How many have already succeeded in what you're only learning? How many have skills and gifts that you don't?
What if instead of having to figure it all out on your own, you reached into that wealth of human resources and got everything you needed?
What if you just ... asked?