To take responsibility for how our life unfolds does not mean we have to do everything ourselves. It does not mean we cannot ask for help. There are times when we need to ask for help, and that’s a good way to take responsibility.
A friend suggested to me that when monks in Asia leave their monastery to ask villagers for food, they are not taking responsibility for themselves. I argued that if those monks had not been given food, and had blamed the villagers for their hunger, then yes, they would be abrogating responsibility. But if they accepted the villagers’ refusal without complaint and without judgment, they were taking responsibility.
So, yes, it’s okay to ask for assistance, provided you accept refusal without complaining or judging. It might take courage to ask, because rejection is possible, but that can build your resilience. Remind yourself that each act of courage nourishes your confidence, and that’s a great way to reduce anxiety.
Asking for assistance has other advantages: it strengthens the connection between you and other people. People usually like to help; they like to feel valued.
Not only that, when you ask for help, and receive it, you are given the message that you are worthy of another person’s help. That helps feed the inner flame.
If you need assistance, ask for it and be ready to accept a refusal. That’s taking responsibility.
Q. ‘I thought taking responsibility meant being independent.’
Independence is great, but you can ask for help and remain independent.
Don’t be attached to the outcome. If someone declines to assist you, accept it without complaint or judgment.
From Andrew Matthews’ book, ‘Being Happy!’
‘Asking gives somebody else the pleasure of helping you. In fact, failing to ask is selfish. If you like to help others, then give them the same opportunity. Don’t deprive them of the satisfaction of helping you! This applies to all kinds of asking. People for the most part are more than willing to help if they perceive that you are in need or if they believe that you are already doing everything you can, and that you need some extra assistance. Many people are DESPERATE to help, but fear they may impose.’