I was just getting ready to settle down in my room when the doorbell rang.🚪
As far as I knew, none of us were expecting a guest, and so I debated answering it for a few seconds. Just then, my housemate - who had only just gone into the bathroom - suddenly came out & informed me that she'd ordered a pizza online a few minutes ago, and suspected that it might be the pizza delivery guy at the door. Her suspicions were confirmed when I answered the door bell phone; and before she could even ask, I informed him that I'd be right down to get the pizza from him on her behalf.
I still remember how I felt knowing that I was doing her a favour - no matter how small it was. It's the feeling I always get when I can be of help to someone. 🤗What I hadn't realized, however, was how much this feeling changed when the roles were reversed...
The most surprising thing I've learnt about myself this year is how reluctant I am to ask for help. I could be in dire need of assistance - be it in a small situation or a big one - but I still prefer to try and solve the problem on my own.
The first few times I realized this I ignored it, and even dismissed it as a one-off thing. But I kept finding myself in situations which I was unable to handle on my own, and the words 'Ask for help!' kept coming to mind. But I ignored them, too.
It took a while for me to hop on board, but I eventually gave in. I asked for help - not once, not twice, but several times - despite it still being something I disliked doing. In the process of doing so, however, I realized that it was more of a problem for me than it was for others around me - and I couldn't help but wonder why.🤔
It was only recently that the puzzle pieces started falling into place...
I seem to have gone through a good part of my life without having to ask for much assistance - either because it was readily given to me without my asking, or because I didn't really need it. Being the last born in my family means that I have always had people looking out for me & making sure that I have what I need even before I ask for it.
What's more, I have also always performed well enough in school, and never really needed to ask for extra help from my teachers or other students. I wasn't good at every subject, but I made peace with that, and was happy enough to do well at least in my favourite ones.
However, life at Uni. has completely turned everything around, and I now realize just how much I have been leaning on others in the past - as well as how much I have to look out for myself now that I live far away from my family...
And as for school, I'm now taking courses that involve a lot more creativity than I'm used to, and aren't as straightforward as I found languages and equations to be. Many a time I feel lost; and even though I'm a student, asking for help isn't the first thing that comes to mind - especially when everyone else seems to find these things so simple. But it was actually through doing just that, that God used people and different situations to show me just how big a part of life needing help is!
In light of all this, I thought it would be helpful (pun intended, Lol) to point out 3 main things that I have learnt from this experience:
i) For the longest time, I have associated needing help with weakness. Why? Because it puts me in a vulnerable position, and I don't like being vulnerable. But now I know that asking for help is actually a sign of strength, as well as maturity.
ii) I have also realized that we will always need each other's help in one way or another. It's the reason God made so many of us. We are actually here for each other, and the sooner we figure that out, the better and easier our lives will be.
iii) Lastly, the thing that I was fighting so much was actually the thing that was holding me back. I can't put into words just how much I have grown and achieved this year because of all the help I have received from family, friends, and other well-meaning people. I can only imagine how far I would still be in my own personal journey if I had insisted on having my way, and had kept doing things on my own.🤦♀
There's an African proverb that says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." I first came across it a while ago, but I feel like I only really understand it now - thanks to the experiences I've gone through this year.
In retrospect, I now see that going it alone is one of the most dangerous things we can do. Not only does it make us proud - as we tend to become more arrogant the more we achieve on our own - but it also leaves us susceptible to falling in so many ways! 😲Having people to walk with us on our journey, on the other hand, keeps us safe - as they are able to see things we may not see; and can advise us when we're unsure of something.
Yes, we'll always be able to get some things done on our own; but we can do so much more together.
It's taken me a good part of this year to learn this, but I'd say it was well worth it. And I hope it encourages you to not only to reach out a hand when someone needs your help, but to also accept one that's reached out to you when you're the one in need of help. 😉😊