The Most Humbling of All Experiences

Why is it so difficult to admit we can't do something on our own? I hate asking for help. I will push myself harder and harder to try and make something work before I finally break down and realize that doing something by myself is not possible.

For some reason, I equate asking for help with failure. Somewhere deep down I can't shake the feeling that at 33 (almost 34), I should be able to take care of myself, and to admit that I've let things get out of hand is to concede that I can't accomplish something that's incredibly basic — something that others even younger than I am seem perfectly capable of doing.

And what makes the situation even more humbling — or perhaps even humiliating — is asking for the help from parents, and my problem with doing so doesn't come from guilt trips that they lay on me.

The problem is that I know they will help in whatever way they can, but they will worry. They will worry if what they're doing is enough. They will worry that something they did wrong caused this problem to come about.

There's no easy solution to the whole situation either. If I don't ask for help, I continue to flounder around and keep my head above water knowing that I'll eventually slip under. Asking for help, as I have done, reveals vulnerabilities and weakness and makes me feel lower than a street curb.

I apologize for the lack of specifics and cryptic tone of this post. The truth is, I just wanted to express what's been going through my head. No need to worry; I know things are gonna work out eventually. It's just going to take some time to get there.

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10 thoughts on “The Most Humbling of All Experiences

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  1. Specifics aren’t required.

    It’s the whole stubborn perfectionist “I am gonna bloody do this!” nature. I am the same way.

    Depending on the subject I am quite happy to ask for help, but others, like you, I will flounder and paddle like mad so as not to sink.

    My fingers are crossed that you get your issue sorted without too much heartache and hassle.

    As a total aside, I just figured why our tastes (remember my dodgy blog entries???) are so similar. We’re the same age! eek! It’s the 30-something thing isn’t it…

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  2. Thanks for your well wishes.

    And yes, I agree with similar ages and similar tastes. I think many of us 30-somethings (or Gen Xers) have an attraction to all things ’80s, more so than some other generations are attracted to the trends of their childhood.

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  3. I think my most frequently said line is “I can do it myself!”. And usually, yes, I can. But I never pause to realize that sometime, people just like to help and that even though I can do it myself, sometimes it’s easier to let them help.

    But really, I can do it myself!
    I enjoy your blog~
    Meridith

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  4. surfed in on BlogMad.

    I could have written that post myself! I do exactly the same thing. I take on too much, refuse to then delegate when it’s gotten to be too much, and I never ask for help.

    That’s why I’m always bitchy and stressed out.

    It’s definitely a perfectionist thing, and a pride thing. Unfortunately, I cannot offer any advice, because I haven’t figured out how to stop it myself.

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  5. backlist,
    Yes, sometimes people do want to help in whatever way they can. I just have a hard time letting them. Glad you enjoyed reading my stuff.

    Invisible,
    I’m sure this problem is true for many people, and I definitely have perfectionist tendencies. No need for advice; it’s always nice to hear that others deal with the same problem. 😀

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  6. Ah Carla, you and I are alike, I daresay.

    My husband has told me, on numerous occasions, that he wished I would be just a little co-dependent, just a smidgen, not much, just enough to make him feel helpful. I’m so independent that he feels left out at times.

    This is not to say that I always master whatever it is I’m sweating blood over, but I would rather chew off my writing hand than ask for help.

    And being writers? We know how bad THAT would be. 🙂

    Hang in there kiddo, and don’t be so hard on yourself! We all need help from time to time.

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  7. I used to hate to ask for help, it took a pretty radical life event to change my perspective. September 2005 I had a motorcycle accident that left me hospitalized. Spent most of October in a hospital bed and the four months after that unable to walk without aid, drive, shop for myself, etc. It was a humbling experience but it taught me that sometimes, you need help. I don’t recommend taking this course to learn the lesson, but it showed me that needing help does not equal failing!

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  8. Karen, Thanks… 🙂

    Michael,
    I’m afraid you’re right. I wouldn’t want to learn that lesson in that manner. But I hope you’re doing much better.

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