The willingness to help does not make one charitable; it makes one free. - Robert Brault
I enjoy giving it.
I loathe asking for it.
It has been offered to me MANY times.
To FEW times I have availed myself of it.
Much of the past 20 years of my life was been spent hiding and deceiving myself and others into believing that I was strong, capable, well off, powerful, etc.
This misguided, sad trajectory of events brought me misery, sorrow and loneliness - the exact opposite of my intended outcome.
Why have I never been willing to let others help me?
What was the source of my arrogance - and that is what it was - that prevented me accepting assistance from my fellows?
Why did I think I was too good, so much better than others, that I was somehow beyond that need?
It was a disastrous combination of drugs, alcohol, fear, dishonesty and mental illness.
Only recently have I been taking small, yet bold steps to deal with the storms in my mind and in my life - regularly seeing a therapist, not hiding from my own past, writing about my experiences, trying (and often failing) to keep a regular spiritual practice and engaging in a community of recovery. These actions have resulted in small life improvements - fewer panic attacks, a developing network of people who care about me, less frightening nightmares and an increasing sense of self-worth.
When I was in the depths of my darkness, the lowest point where my pride and arrogance and delusional belief that I was separate and better than others, it was then and there that help came in the form of a nice couple who sat across from me in a Starbucks. I looked at them and I realized that they were everything I was not, yet wanted to be - happy, joyous and free.
When I look back at that not so distant day, I wonder if the G-d of my understanding arranged that situation by bringing that nice couple to that Starbucks, by allowing me to become desperate enough to be willing to try another way, by creating within me and within that situation all the facets necessary to bring me to a point of brokenness where I was willing to accept help.
This willingness to ask for help is but a first step.
What comes next is using it - to do the actual asking for help.
This will require me to exercise more humility then I have in the past, to embody the realization that I am not in this alone, that I am no better (and no worse) than anyone else.
Perhaps in the midst of my pride and failure is that which has eluded me for so long..
Perhaps by becoming willing to be helped by others and then asking for that help, I will find what I have been seeking all along - self-acceptance.
Be well, do good work and keep in touch.