This week’s Deep Thought Thursday question was actually the writing prompt issued yesterday by The Daily Post. Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?
I am not good at asking for help. There are several possible reasons for this shortcoming, but I suspect the real answer is some combination of all of the below:
I have some control issues. It’s not that I think other people can’t do something as well, or better, than I could. I know they can. But as soon as I add something to my to-do list, I’ve also mapped out in my head exactly how I will do it and what the result will be. When I’ve given up control and turned over one of those items in the past, it’s like someone flips a switch on my personality–a pleasant, mild-mannered, don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff pacifist becomes a tense, hand-wringing, micro-managing witch with a capital B. It’s not a pleasant experience for anyone involved (anyone being, most often, the hubby–this Jekyll-Hyde transformation has never occurred at work). I don’t like who I become, and I certainly don’t like subjecting anyone to the dark side of my personality, so I very rarely ask for help.
I loathe being an inconvenience to anyone. I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. I don’t like adding to anyone else’s workload when they’ve already got a dozen balls in the air. I’ll juggle mine (and probably offer to take one or two of yours off your hands) and work myself into exhaustion rather than ask for help.
I fear looking weak or incompetent (even if no one sees but me). As a result, I have moved furniture up and down countless flights of stairs singlehandedly, I have tiled a floor with only Google by my side (I did cave and ask a sales person at Lowes to cut a couple weird shapes for me, but only after my blisters had blisters from using the tile nippers), and I have spent hours troubleshooting minor computer issues rather than enlisting assistance from others far more qualified than I. Although in reality it is probably nothing more than sheer stubbornness, I prefer to think it’s a matter of pride, a refusal to admit defeat. If I’ve tackled a project on my own, especially if it is something new and out of my comfort zone, I have an innate need to independently see it through to successful completion. Otherwise, I’d have to admit there is something I can’t do. And as long as humanly possible, I intend to work under the delusion that I can do absolutely anything I set my hand and mind to.
On the flip side, if someone sees me struggling and offers to help, I try to accept gratefully and gracefully. I mean I certainly wouldn’t want to look controlling…or lazy…or bull-headed…