My sister-in-law is one of those people who will be the first to offer help when needed but the last to ask for help.
She proved this last fall when she had a bad fall and ended up with a very nasty break in the collar bone. She made her children promise not to tell the rest of the family because she knew we would all want to help and she did not want to ‘bother’ anyone.
So those of us who lived further away did not know about it until the worst was over.
She was right in that we would have gone to help, but I felt she was wrong to not give us the chance to do so.
I ranted and raved about stubborn independent women for weeks until something made me look at myself a little closer.
First I had a family emergency that meant I would have to catch a plane at the Calgary airport, a three hour drive away from me. I had no clue how to get to the airport and the only person that I knew who did is a business person and very busy.
She is a good friend and we have often done little favours for each other but I felt taking me there plus picking me up again was just a lot to ask.
I finally got brave enough to ask for help and her instant reply was ‘Yes.’
A few weeks later I developed an infection under my thumbnail and ended up having to get the nail removed, a painful and frustrating experience.
In the middle of that I phoned my cousin to chat and the first thing she said was to ask me why I had not called and asked her to come over and at least do my dishes for me.
To be honest, I had simply not thought of it; but it did make me wonder why it is so hard for some people to ask for help.
I suppose there are many reasons. Maybe we don’t want to feel indebted to anyone, maybe we really don’t want to bother people, or maybe we think we can handle it by ourselves.
Maybe we are afraid that the answer will be ‘no’ and we find out that the one we thought cared about us doesn’t care that much after all.
I think my friend’s speedy ‘yes’ answer means as much to me, if not more than the actual help.
Knowing I have friends who are willing to help me, makes me want to help others and this becomes a wonderful circle.
Start a circle, ask for help, and help others.
by Lois Perepelitz