Friday, January 4, 2008
I watched the Celebrity Apprentice show last night. In past Apprentice seasons, Donald Trump was looking for someone to hire into his company. He would take a group of 12 or so people, and hand out what was supposed to be meaningful tasks so that he could judge their suitability for a position in one of his mega-millions corporations. Each week, one of the apprentices, the one whom he deemed to do the worst job on the task, would be sent packing with his signature “You’re fired” statement. However, in Celebrity Apprentice, the B-list celebrities are not jockeying for a job, rather, they are seeing who can raise the most money for a particular charity they have chosen to represent. The person sent packing last night was singled out for not asking for help – help in the form of a donation from a rich contact. Although it is a pretty mind-numbing show and I should have been reading a book instead, that dismissal did make me think about the concept of asking for help.
I’m really bad at asking for help. I’m not sure why but I laid in bed dissecting that thought for a while. Am I afraid of being refused help? Do I worry about burdening someone else with my problems and issues? Have I been programmed as a woman that I should be strong and self-reliant and therefore not need help? Or, am I afraid that I will be seen as weak if I ask for assistance? I never arrived at a conclusion, but I do believe that I have become even more reluctant to ask for help since adopting my children with significant disabilities. And, the thing is, those adoptions have put me in a position to need help more often.
While trying to make sense of all this, I remembered a comment that Brooke’s Mom made on my blog post about isolation. She said “I never want to admit [I feel isolated] because I feel people who don't really understand will "blame" Brooke; I can not live with that thought so I just keep my mouth shut.” Somewhere in that comment is the reason why I am so uncomfortable asking for help. People who don’t understand why I freely chose to adopt children with significant physical, mental and emotional disabilities (which is at least 85% of the people I know), might feel the need to say “I told you so” if I admitted I needed and asked for help. They might blame my children for putting me in a position of needing help. And like Brooke’s Mom, I couldn’t live with that. But, by worrying about what people will think, am I doing a disservice to myself and my children?
If I truly need help, I shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. At the same time, if my request is refused, I need to learn to accept that gracefully and not take it personally. My life would just be so much easier if people would figure out for themselves the type of help I needed and offered before I could ask! (Please know that the last statement was made sarcastically, and I don’t expect people to read my mind or figure out my needs.) .
I need some help now – help to figure out how to ask for help. Any ideas?