This morning’s trending #IDidntAskForHelpBecause struck a nerve, and I tweeted:
“#IDidntAskForHelpBecause I was taught that getting help was cheating. It confirmed you are worthless. Another thing NOT to pass to my kids.”
It made me think.
How did I learn this? Why do I attach shame to asking for help? Am I alone? The more tweets I read, the more echoed mine. I remember the moment I learned this.
A lovely woman, Nella Weller, wanted kids at my church to memorize bible verses. The church was offering a “Timothy Award” for accomplishing this. My stepbrother (who has a photographic memory) had won this award.
Memorizing things is not my forte. I am much better at paraphrasing, and I didn’t even plan to try.
Mrs. Weller invited me to her house. She would help me and some other kids learn all the verses. She was right. When I applied myself, I was able to memorize them, although the only one I still remember is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.” Perhaps I’m paraphrasing again, but that’s how I remember it.
I won the award. I was proud of myself, because memorizing things is such a challenge.
My stepmother observed my pride and set me straight. My award was not fairly earned because I’d had help whereas my stepbrother hadn’t. His award meant he was special, but mine only revealed weakness. I felt ashamed of my pride, as if I had cheated and lied to get an undeserved reward. I threw the award away, and I still cringe at the memory.
Pulling this thorn would be helpful to me. I wish I could unlearn that lesson. We all need to give and receive help at times. Shame shouldn’t be the currency. Rather, when you receive help, you give others help in turn. What good does shame do anyone?
Do you feel shame asking for help? Do you feel like you’re cheating if you get help?
Twitter tip: If you’re on twitter, and you want to join a free-for-all hashtag party, skim the “Trends” list and see if anything intrigues you. If a hashtag like the one above catches your eye, click on it. Read a few. Like a few. Think about what you’d say. Can you be funny or real or both? Can you add something new? Whether yes or no, you can join the conversation. Everyone is welcome. Use the hashtag, and your tweet will join others. Your words may help others feel validated. I connect with new people that way. My handle is @BrendaDHarsham. I’m happy to connect with you there.