Asking for Help and Society

I was walking home today thinking about the problem I blogged last time.  I realized that I still had not asked for help from the online community or any of my former classmates that are better at coding then I am.  I got to thinking about why I had not asked for help yet. 



What makes it so hard to ask for help?

Personally I find it hard to even ask for help to open a pickle jar.  I always chalk it up to not wanting to bother someone with such a small problem.  It’s not like I need pickles, I just want pickles.  It’s not my fault the jar is stuck closed.  It’s not my fault that I am a female and my hands are to small and weak to force the jar open.  It’s not my fault that the hot water did not do its job or that banging it on the counter did not break the seal either.  All of these things are pretty much beyond my control, yet I feel shame that I cannot get the jar open.

When did it become shameful to ask for help?

I do not remember having qualms about asking for help when I was younger.  It seems so natural that you would ask for help from your friend or classmate that is good in math, or your teacher if you are having trouble with your verbs.  Even asking your parents for help was not a big deal.

Sometime in my late teens I think societies standards of behavior started messing with some key concepts.  Asking for help should not be hard.  I doubt it was school that made me think asking for help was shameful, it was probably how I saw my parents.  Strong pillars that did not need help to stand, even if they were asking and receiving help.

As an adult with a degree and some world experience under my belt, I have found so many things that make me question the way things are done, things like asking for help.   These things are not going to change just because they are questioned.  Society has structures that we are supposed to follow when presenting ourselves and that is not going to change easily.

Somewhere along the way we decided that everyone should stand alone and that no one should help where others can see. Even online we don’t really ask for help, we pose questions and hope for answers.  Very rarely do you find someone that will directly ask for help and even more rare is someone who will give help without expecting anything in return.

ImageThere are so many things that I cannot do alone or at all.  I do not think that I should feel shame in asking for help when I want a pickle or when I get stuck on a problem.  While it may not be easy to admit that I cannot do something, I should not need to feel shame in asking for help.  In addition no one should feel shame in helping someone and they should not feel that a reward is mandatory.

We are all just trying to live with what we have.  We all have handicaps, things we are great at and things we are bad at.  I would think that the best way to get through life is to acknowledge that you need help and you have help to offer.  Wouldn’t that reduce stress and increase our faith in our fellow man?


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