Day 149: I Don't Need No-One's Help

Intertwined within the whole Prideful Character exists the refusal to ask for help.

In previous blogs I discussed how the prideful character within me originated from a self-definition as ‘someone who is good/successful at anything’ – and how this gave rise to a fear or making mistakes or not being good enough. So, asking for help has been a tough point for me to learn – because I perceived asking for help as admitting failure, believing that: if I can’t do the task on my own, then I am in some way not good enough, ‘not up to the task’ –and now I have to ‘degrade’ myself to asking another for help.

This perception started in the class room. The teacher would explain something , we would do some of the exercises together, and then we’d have to do it on our own. I believed that – after the teacher had explained everything and after we had done exercises on our own – I ‘should’ be able to get it. And I mostly did. Those that asked for help, I saw as the ‘dumb kids’ – and I always pitied them and felt sorry for them that they NEEDED to ask for help – that they were so incapable or inadequate within understanding and processing the information that they couldn’t apply it for themselves in exercises and had to put up their hand in embarrassment and ask the teacher for help once more. I always felt lucky that I was spared from that experience.

Of course, outside of the classroom – when it’s not merely about learning information, someone showing you exactly what the rules are that need to be applied and then applying it – I ran into many moments that I actually ‘didn’t know what to do’ or where I had an idea of what I was supposed to do but I had no rulebook to fall back on or a script to follow. I didn’t realize that – yes, when you’re working with information that strictly follows certain rules and you’re actually working with ‘copy/pasting’ a certain format of resolution unto certain information – then sure, if you understand the rules and the conditions under which to apply them – then you simply do it for yourself. But most problem-solving in ‘real life’, outside of the class room, outside of maths, outside of grammar, outside of physics or chemistry – doesn’t follow such strict rules and doesn’t first hand me a formula to apply. I didn’t see the difference between the two – all I saw was: I have to get a project done or I have to master something or I have to direct a certain situation: and I find I am unable to do it!!! AAAAAAAAAAH!!!! What’s wrong with me!!!! I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS!!! Lolol.

Fascinatingly, instead of simply admitting that: well, I don’t know what to do – let me ask someone else who might be able to assist me – I would just muddle on in all stubbornness – regardless of how ineffective I was and regardless of how long it was taking me to make any progress at all. I felt that – at least if I don’t ask for help, then I’m not officially stupid or inadequate – then I might ‘suddenly’ understand it, then I might find in my memory some piece of information that will be the key and all will be well in the end and I’ll see that I could do it on my own all along, it just took me a little longer.

I made many things unnecessarily hard for me this way. Also within my process for instance, if I didn’t see how I had created a certain experience for myself or if I was unable to make a decision – rather than speaking to someone about it and asking for their perspective, I would just try to ‘find the point on my own’, while in the meantime still sitting with the same experience or accumulating anxieties and doubts for not being able to make a decisionthinking that, if I ask for someone’s assistance, then I’m not the one walking my process, then even if I’m the one opening up the point further in writing and self-forgiveness and self-correction – I would think I didn’t ‘own’ that point of correction – because I wasn’t the one to see the point for myself.

Lol – it would feel like cheating and looking in the back of the book for the answer to the question I wasn’t able to resolve on my own. Again – a point I created in school where I made it quite a point not to go and look for the answers in the back of the book until I had an answer of my own – then it was okay to go and check if I had the right answer. But to go to the back of the book to see the answer while I didn’t have an inkling of how to solve the problem, no, that to me was totally unacceptable – that was cheating and dishonest. Lol – quite a morality point I created around ‘honesty’ here. But that’s in essence how I perceived asking for assistance – that I was cheating and that I was taking a short-cut. Those answers that I would go look up at the back of the book – because, yes, sometimes I was so stuck and desperate that I would go peak – after reading the answer I could suddenly see how they got to the answer and I would be able to work it out for myself in how to get to that answer – but those exercises didn’t ‘count’ then – because I had ‘cheated’.

So, a word of advice would be to look at your perceptions around ‘asking for assistance’ – specifically look at your childhood/schooling years – and to remove these associations, judgments and beliefs. If you have a look: it simply is a matter of fact that through defining ourselves through certain ideas, views, beliefs, opinions, personalities, etc – we have limited ourselves in being able to assess information for what it is and directing it effectively. If we each stick to trying to do everything on our own – it’s going to take forever to find solutions and walk them into correction, because in order to see information for what it is, we have to be able to also identify the lenses through which we view information – but if we have accepted those lenses as ‘normal’, then how can we see that they are lenses? Fortunately, each one has lived a different life, with different parents, with different upbringing, with different experiences – and so in asking another for perspective, they might be able to see something that we hadn’t considered on our own, because the particular lens we were looking through, the particular glasses we were wearing didn’t allow us to see that point.

So, in working together, asking for support and others’ perspectives and suggestions, we have the greatest chance at walking this process most effectively and formulating solutions most effectively – because in the end, it’s not about where some piece of information/some suggestions came from – it’s about putting all the pieces of information together, to see the whole picture and then directing it in terms of what is best for all. In the end, information is information, it cannot really be ‘owned’ – information is here – it doesn’t belong to anyone .

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Maite - I can relate to this - and I have had to ask for help now that I am starting law school...because most of my old ways of studying do not work here...I can now see another dimension to the stress that I feel when I feel "behind everyone else" -thanks for sharing