There is no denying that we have entered into the age of instant access to all types of resources to help us be more efficient and effective. On the personal development side, there are websites that can help us be more efficient with planning schedules, meals, vacations, and just about anything else. There is also no shortage of books or consultants we could employ to help us in everything we do.
There is one critical area that often gets overlooked on a very personal level in families and close relationships. The courage to ask for help is often times what separates a willing helper from a person in genuine need of help.
As we build and strengthen our character, it is the courage to ask for help that can create massive momentum in strengthening our close relationships and having a positive impact to overcome some area of struggle in our lives.
We could spend a great deal of time discussing why we don’t ask for help, but suffice to say, many of us do not reach out for help when we truly need it. We typically march on until disaster strikes and our cover-up has lost its effectiveness.
It may not be what we see on the news or read on the internet, but I am a firm believer that in most of our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces, people are genuinely willing to help someone in need. What we all lack is someone with the courage to ask.
Yes, we all can, and need to, improve our listening skills and our ability to discern the real question behind the question or the real comment behind the comment. However, experience would tell us that we are all very good at the “cover-up.” We are very effective at continuing to attend the costume party and wearing our best mask.
As a parent, we would give anything to hear about the real struggles of our children to offer help and assistance in overcoming a challenge. Many times, children (of all ages) don’t ask.
As a spouse, we would benefit much more from hearing what is at the heart of the struggles that often times manifest themselves in other ways like defensiveness, stonewalling, or contempt that cover up the real need for help. Many times, spouses don’t ask or give up after a few years of asking.
As a friend, we would open the door to much richer relationships if we went beyond the “everything is fine, things are great” comment and genuinely opened up and asked for help. Many times, friends don’t ask.
There are a number of benefits that can come about when we have the courage to ask for help:
- We bring clarity to the need. Our relationships often wander with unproductive energy spent trying to figure out what is at the heart of the struggle or a particular behavior.
- We provide someone who wants to help with the opportunity to productively help. There is often times a willing helper without the understanding of where or how to help.
- We demonstrate to others the necessary courage to be vulnerable and ask for help. Our example will help them build courage to ask for help during their time of need…and we all have times of need.
Many times, the complexity of our lives will hinder our ability to know exactly how to describe what it is we need help with and we just know the reality that we are hurting. A simple, soft call for “help” can open the door for a more productive discussion than simply maintaining the cover-up until disaster strikes and the costume party ends.
As we demonstrate the courage to ask for help, we will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to build stronger relationships with those closest to us.