The Beatles were right on target with their song “Help”. When we were “all younger than today”, we thought we’d never need help in any way. But as we grew more mature, we realized we were “not so self-assured and our independence seemed to vanish in the haze”.
Yet how often are most people willing to say “Help me if you can I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you bein’ round. Help me get my feet, back on the ground; won’t you please help me?”
Many people, including myself, feel inadequate if they ask for help. Especially these days, when a lot of the bonds of society are less personal and interconnected, there are fewer people whom we feel close to and trust. It used to be that at least you could count on family to help when you needed it. Today, families, like mine, are spread across the United States. Only one of my four children lives close to us, another is an hour away, and a third, while still in the same state, is 200 miles from our home. The last is on the opposite coast.
I had some rough years, particularly when I had young children at home and we had no relatives within 1,000 miles. Sadly, our children didn’t have the benefit of frequent visits with grandparents and extended family. After we moved to the state where we still live, we really didn’t have that many friends. Mine (and my husband’s) had been accumulated at work, but once I had children I was isolated. Help was hard to come by — that kind of moral and emotional support from people who knew me well and could listen and advise.
I was also one of those people who valued my independence greatly; I felt I should be able to cope and figure things out by myself. I’d talk to my mother and sister some, but I didn’t want to show weakness or ineptitude. As the years went by and I began to suffer with alcohol addiction, I isolated myself even more. I never shared with anyone in my family what I was going through — I think I felt that I’d dug the hole myself, and had to figure out how to pull myself out of it. Sometimes that just can’t be done. I even hated to admit to my husband (who probably had his suspicions anyway), that I was in deep trouble and needed help. How hard it was to admit that I was powerless! Fortunately, I did seek help, and over a couple of years of serious struggling, finally realized that I did need to ask for help when I needed it and listen to others’ advice.
People tend to forget that they are social beings. We were meant to share and care about others, and take help or give it when needed. It’s not a sign of weakness to depend on others; it is a sign of strength and self-awareness to ask for the help we need, and give up our control now and then.
Life wasn’t meant to be lived like each of us occupies on our own island struggling alone when we could be sharing some of the burdens of everyday life. We can give and we can receive, and be part of something greater than ourselves by doing so.