What is it about the human psyche that we are so reluctant to ask for help? Even when it is freely and lovingly offered by another, we often only take up the offer when there seems no alternative.
In a society that lauds the attributes of independence, self-sufficiency and resilience, asking for help can be viewed as a sign of weakness. It’s not. Allowing another to help us takes strength in acknowledging when we cannot do it all on our own. It is acceptance that we are not superhuman which is logical and reasonable, not some sort of failure.
Helping each other – including accepting help for ourselves – is what being in community is all about. Mutual support, give and take.
Even when we do accept help, we can feel indebted to the helper, as if we must repay the assistance in some way as soon as possible. This also is not necessary in a community. Help will be given and help will be received when and as it is needed. Help given in a true community is an act of love, not one half of a user-pays transaction.
For everything there is a season and the helper one day may be the one in need the next. But in a healthy, caring relationship, help is not offered with the thought, “and you better help me when I need it”. It is offered simply because we care about the other person and we know, not expect, that the other person would do the same for us. It is a mutual relationship of support.
So, offer help because you want to, ask for help because you need to, and do so in the knowledge that this is community and we are all in this together.