I returned from my latest Disney adventure with a cold: coughing, sneezing, nothing too horrible. I followed that up with a minor medical procedure at the doctor’s office involving several sets of stitches. Either of these things individually would have been no problem. Unfortunately the combination of the two knocked me for a loop. I was banned for driving for a day and had to do wound care in areas that I cannot actually reach. It is very frustrating for me. I am a very independent person who likes being able to do things for myself. I do NOT like asking for help. This is a character flaw, I know, but it is also truth.
We are raised to be rugged individuals. We are taught that we should do things ourselves. We are conditioned to be helpers, not the helped. This is ingrained in us so much that asking for help is often viewed as a failure on our part. Forget the fact that sometimes for real, valid reasons we are incapable of doing something ourselves. If we need help, there is something wrong with us. This translates into our society into contempt for those who need help on a regular basis. People who need government assistance, affirmative action, or Title IX intervention are viewed as weak and grasping rather than just people who need a little help. We’re supposed to be able to do things ourselves. That is the American model. It’s both crazy and shockingly unhealthy.
Unsurprisingly I found myself contemplating this mindset last week. I took the very brave step of asking for help. People brought us a couple meals. Other people helped with yard work. The Princess happily bandaged me everywhere, not just the places I needed extra help. (Turns out she actually likes looking at stitches.) In both large and small ways I have received help and have managed to survive the experience.
In thinking about this I have come to realize that all of my favorite Disney characters are rarely alone. They all have a lot of help: partners, friends, loved ones, and sidekicks. People who are there to help and support each other, people who help keep other’s spirits up, people who jump in and do what needs doing when someone else needs help. I think we all might need a sidekick.
Asking for help doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us. It means that we’re human. Receiving help doesn’t mean that we’ve failed. It simply means that right now someone else is better able to do what needs doing. We have all been in the helping role for someone else. It isn’t a sign of weakness to let someone else help us. It is a sign of grace freely given and freely received.
Image from Olivia Johnson (oliviaj14) on PlayBuzz.com