One of the many difficulties that I have had in my past was asking for help. And it wasn't really because I felt vulnerable. I'm a pretty sensitive guy and feel vulnerable all the time. I even laugh at how I always feel that I'm on the brink of tears.
Note: I don't believe that being sensitive or feeling vulnerable are negative qualities. I even believe that sensitivity and vulnerability are positive qualities, as explained in the below quote from my favorite movie, Stalker (1979):
"When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it's tender and pliant. But when it's dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death's companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win." - Stalker
And I believe that life should be lived to the point of tears, as Albert Camus was once quoted because to live life any other way would be either inhuman, boring or both.
But back to asking for help:
The reason why I used to have trouble asking for help was that I didn't like to bother anyone. I didn't like to feel that I was taking away someone else's time and energy so that they could help me, especially when the very least I could do was learn what to do in order overcome the challenge that I could have asked for help on.
But despite still feeling this way about asking for help, what I have recently realized is that by not asking for help, I am starving the opportunity to really bond with others.
See, when we put ourselves in a vulnerable place, we give others the opportunity to help us and for them to feel appreciated. And by not asking for help, we take that opportunity away from them.
But at the same time, being vulnerable can be difficult for many. Many fear that they might be taken advantage of in some way. And there is always that possibility when we make ourselves vulnerable.
So, how do we know when to ask for help and when not to ask for help?
Well, we can never know the outcome of any decision, so we can never know when to ask for help or when not to ask for help.
But as I continue to defend, how we feel determines how we live. And when we're faced with the choice of whether or not to ask for help, the best we could do is feel which decision will give us the best outcome.
This is very much why asking is an art.
Bonus: This newsletter was inspired by Amanda Palmer's Ted Talk and book, "The Art of Asking", which I had just recently finished reading. If you're interested in this topic, I highly recommend you check out both the Ted Talk and her book, "The Art of Asking." She's also an amazing musician.
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