The Other Half of Gratitude: Asking for Help
During a Thanksgiving service I attended this week, a story was shared of a family in Guelph, Ontario who were in the final moments of preparation for their daughter's backyard wedding. Imagine their panic when the zipper on the bride's dress split! As they hurriedly tried everything possible to pin, tape or secure the gown in someway, the mother of the bride ran next door in hopes of a solution. As it turned out, the neighbours were hosting a Syrian refugee family whose father happened to be a master tailor. A few minutes the later the dress was mended with guests none the wiser simply because the mother of the bride had been willing to accept her limitations and ask for help. The Syrian family, whose need to survive had been most desperate were getting ready to celebrate their first Thanksgiving in Canada. As a result, they were willing to help someone else in need, no matter how small or insignificant it might have seemed given their journey.
This following except is drawn from author M. Nora Klaverin her book Mayday!: Asking for help in times of need:
Most people will tell you they don’t ask for help because they don’t want to experience rejection. This may be true, but at least as many fear being seen as weak or exposed. Possessing gratitude means that one has seen and acknowledged what is, and has chosen to disregard what may be missing. Fear, the voice of the ego, whispers repeatedly that asking for help telegraphs powerlessness, a position of want and lack. It’s as though we see a neon sign flashing above our heads that advertises, ‘I’m weak! Take advantage of me!’
In truth, a deliberate focus on the gifts you have been given keeps you strong and resolved. Asking for help will no longer be a mark of vulnerability, but a declaration of your worth as an individual. Your words and behaviours reflect the joy you feel inside. All of this enables you to ask confidently for what you need. Your mayday signal will reflect that self-assurance.
Instead of being concerned your request will be interpreted as a sign of weakness, you will feel nothing of the kind. Instead, being ashamed that you lack something in your life, you will recognize and accept that you cannot do or have it all. Instead of worrying whether you will be rejected, you will know with certainty that, even if this person says no, assistance will arrive somehow, anyway.
Gratitude not only liberates you from fear, but it frees your helper, too. As long as you feel blessed, those around you will naturally be more comfortable responding to your request for aid. Instead of reacting to a perceived weakness with pity, others will more likely respond to your strength with compassion- a willingness to share and alleviate your pain.