Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Cycle of Love and Care

On Monday night, on my way home after attending a reguregu, I made a detour to by some bread for the family for the next day. I must commend the baking fraternity on the general freshness of most bread which allows us to enjoy our "fresh bread na noa". Given the late hour, I wasn't surprised to find my family's preferred bakery closed and so I continued a little further to Raiwaqa's popular bakery.

Coming out after making my purchase, I noticed two young women struggling to get their car started. As a few of us passers-by stopped to offer our assistance to the stranded women, I noticed their embarrasment turn to relief as we jokingly explained that this was part of owning a car in Fiji and discussed options on getting the car started. Eventually we managed to "push-start" the car and the grateful ladies drove off.

On the way home, I reflected on how we go about both asking for and offering help. In this day and age of individualism and self-sufficiency, sometimes it is not that we are reluctant to offer help, but that we are reluctant to ask for help.While I am not a big fan of all things "Wiki" (the possible exception being 'Gangnam Style' sensation Psy's "WikiKorea"), I found the following information from " WikiHowTo," very informative.

Sometimes we feel that we're totally independent and don't need any help, or that any person offering us help may be doubting your ability to remain independent. Sometimes we may be frightened of rejection or may have a tendency to perfectionism. Both motivations can cause us to avoid accepting help for fear of failing or being seen as a failure.

If you have had a much harder life than others and had to work harder than others you see around you now, or you simply feel yourself far more independent, you might feel that people not handling their own affairs is a sign of inferiority or incompetence. Sometimes it is just that asking for help makes us feel vulnerable. Perhaps somebody let you down in the past and you swore never to let that happen again, and spun a cocoon of self-reliance as your chief defense. Not wanting to show your perceived vulnerability can cause you to refrain from asking for help.

Sometimes we believe that that it is a sign of weakness to reveal any problems at all to any other person.  You may have an unresolved issue of your own that you are essentially denying or ignoring. 
Consequently, you might have an issue with people seeking help for difficulties, as it serves as a reminder of your own problems that you're not wanting to face.

Or it may be that you may also have had a lot of difficulty finding anyone to help you in various times of need, and consequently think that people just don't help other people.

These examples may sometimes be partnered with a feeling that it is socially wrong to ask (or to be a burden) to friends and family for assistance; or are hindered by a personal fear of being judged or portrayed as weak or inferior. Similar fears are being seen as having friends or family that are weak or inferior, or being associated with people having problems.

It is suggested that we need to work through how not wanting to ever seek help is reinforced by unrealistic ideals and wishful thinking. Sometimes there are conflicting or reinforcing societal ideals that can make it seem a weakness to seek help. If you understand that these "ideals" are but one among many approaches to living, you might be better placed to ease off the obsession with seeing needing help as a weakness.

Consider whether your bias to not ask for or seek help has any benefit to yourself and others. By keeping yourself or making yourself aloof from other human beings, you are building an invisible barrier around yourself that wards off the potential for new relationships and friendships. You might feel a sense of safety but you are missing out on learning about reciprocal give and take, where you not only take help but also provide help in return, all within a compassionate cycle of love, care, and generosity for all.

Look to reality instead of relying on wishful thinking. For example, recognise that people are acting in good faith in general. If another person is being kind in offering help, accepting it at face value is the first step.

Not all to the challenges we face are provided by Wiki. But at the very least, this article helped me to begin to understand why it is we are afraid, ashamed and otherwise reluctant to ask others for help, even when we desparately need it.

At the same time we can also start to understand others and why they may be not inclined to ask for help. The onus then is on us to be able to recognise those who are in need and offer what assistance we can give.

Such is the web of life.

"Simplicity, Serenity, Spontaneity"

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