Thursday, June 27, 2013
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~AnneFrank
I really hate asking for help. I’ve always been one to figure things out on my own, charge through the glut and muck to come to an understanding. For the most part, that’s the way I learn. Sometimes, I’ll have to go over something a hundred times (like Algebra) before it sinks into my math-averse brain. Applying myself and employing my own brain cells to solve a problem or figure out a process gives me a sense of personal accomplishment that makes me feel capable. However, there are times when it is most advantageous and prudent to ask for help, to request a helping hand to get you through a difficult situation. There’s no shame in that. Sometimes, pride or stubbornness get in the way and just makes things really messy.
There have been times where I didn’t ask for help, initially, and wound up totally stuck. Case in point: One time when I was 17 I was working on my old beat up jalopy of a car. It was an ancient Monte Carlo, a rusted out, oil burning, hideous mess of a car, but it was mine. I tried to install brake pads on the back. And if any of you ever attempted to change old style drum brakes, you know the mess you can get into pretty quick if you don’t know what you’re doing. Anyway, I tried for about two hours to figure it out. Frustration mounted until I felt like my head would explode. I broke down, asked my dad to help, and within ten minutes, the brakes were together and working perfectly.
Now that I’m older, I understand the value of asking questions, and seeking out help when the time calls for it. I still don’t like it, but I’ve put aside my stubbornness and pride. I realized that learning doesn’t have to come just from my own experiences. Learning from others’ experience and life knowledge is an excellent way to increase your own capabilities and understandings. The self-improvement we all need and yearn for (even if we won’t admit it) starts with expanding our minds and opening ourselves up to new possibilities. Anne Frank was right; you don’t have to wait a single moment to make things better, starting with you. No one lives life completely alone, so no one should ever try to learn everything completely alone either.
Someone out there has experienced something similar to your situation, whatever it is. With seven billion people on the planet, I’m confident in saying that. It is not a waste of time to employ others’ knowledge and experience to make your own a more positive one; it will be an investment. That investment will pay dividends. Ultimately the difference will be a better life. And a better life is what we all should strive for.
Go ahead, ask for help. Trust me, it won’t hurt and you might just learn something.
Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
When we are Young
When we are young, our parents and family have a responsibility to take care of us. As we grow, they should take the time to nurture and protect, teach and instruct. As children, sometimes we don't understand why those things are important or what the bother is, but children have a voracious appetite for learning. That learning should be encouraged and reinforced as much as possible. Teaching children to look at things from multiple perspectives and to have an open mind prepares them for the massive amount of conflict and confusion life has to offer. Parents should teach by positive example so children can adjust to life as an adolescent and eventually as an adult. But what happens when parents fail at preparing children for life?
Children are smart and capable. They can learn to cope, but if they aren’t given proper guidance, their coping skills will be inadequate and inefficient. I do my best on a daily basis teaching my daughter how to cope, even with things that are upsetting, difficult, and troubling. Don’t get me wrong, I focus on the positive, but it’s impossible to ignore the negative aspects of life and expect things to turn out okay.
Unfortunately, I know people that have terrible coping skills because their parents taught them nothing positive. What happens is an unfortunate cycle of negativity that accomplishes nothing but keeping those people in a dark place. They aren’t really capable of taking care of themselves, because what they learned was piecemeal, ad hoc, and unguided. The consequences of this are devastating. I have experienced an element of this. Someone I know keeps asking advice only to ignore it, and sometimes gets mad at me if they don’t like what they hear. I have experienced having this person lash out at me and people I know for odd reasons. Now you might find yourself in uncomfortable situations where the other person takes out their frustrations on you, or someone you know. You must recognize that they aren’t able to cope well and what they are doing is the only coping mechanism they have. They aren’t able to take care of themselves properly.
What to Do
If you find yourself acting like this, stop. It might be hard, but recognizing there is a problem is an amazing first step in solving it. Some of you might remember the GI Joe cartoon. At the end, there was always a Public Service Announcement where one of the characters would say “Knowing is half the battle.” It’s true. Part of earning to take care of yourself properly requires recognizing if you aren’t doing a very good job if it right now. Sometimes, getting through to a person with this problem is impossible. But I would suggest that you start with yourself.
Remember, you can’t really take care of someone else if you can’t even take care of yourself. There’s no shame in asking for help either. Sometimes it takes a simple request for assistance. If you can learn to accept your faults and rise above them, you can take those first difficult steps in becoming self-reliant.
Comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for reading.
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