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It’s Important to Ask for Help

7 May 2013

Allison read an excerpt from David Whyte’s Readers' Circle Essay, "Help," and appreciated the reminder that sometimes it’s important to ask for the generosity you need.

Tags: allison read, balance, communication, courage, david whyte, happiness

I think a lot of us have a hard time asking for help. I imagine we struggle for different reasons or may have some areas we’re more comfortable asking for help in than others, but that many of us have had the, “I should be able to handle this myself,” feeling from time to time. Ironically, I tend to have this feeling when I’m really tired and actually need support most of all.

As I was searching for inspiration for today’s blog topic and trying to manage some serious feelings of being overwhelmed while staring at my own "to do" list, I was particularly grateful when David Whyte’s Facebook post popped up in my Newsfeed. It’s a short excerpt from his 2011 Readers' Circle Essay, "Help," and I’ve included it here:

"Help is strangely, something we want to do without, as if the very idea disturbs and blurs the boundaries of our individual identity, it is as if we cannot face how much we need others in order to go on: we are born with an absolute necessity for help, grow well only with a continuous succession of extended hands, and as adults depend upon others for our further successes and possibilities in life even as competent individuals. Even the most solitary writer needs a reader, the most Machiavellian mobster a trusted lieutenant, the most independent candidate, a voter. Not only does the need for help ever leave us alone; we must apprentice ourselves to its different necessary forms, at each particular threshold of our lives. At every stage we are dependent on our ability to ask for specific forms of help at very specific times and in very specific ways. Even at the end, the dignity of our going depends on others willingness to help us die well; the sincerity of their help often commensurate to the help we extended to them in our own life. The need for help is never ending and every transformation has at its heart the need to ask for the right kind of generosity, and from a source other than our own."

I’ve spent the afternoon thinking about the right kind of generosity I need from others and preparing myself to be brave and vulnerable enough to have those conversations. What kind of help do you need?

p.s. I encourage you to "Like" David Whyte’s Facebook page and hope you’ll check out a post I wrote last year about his book, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. It’s one of our seven of all-time favorite books at Allison Partners.


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