takes deep breath.…
I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs. My grandad was a man who didn’t suffer fools and he had a large sign on his office desk which read: “A friend in need… is a bloody nuisance”.
Grandad valued hard work and independence. Period.
If you were (in any way) needy… he believed that it was because you hadn’t worked hard enough… and you were, well…. a bloody nuisance.
My Dad, I think, followed in Grandad’s footsteps in many ways. Dad, like Grandad, was (and is) fiercely independent. He didn’t like to owe ANYbody… ANYthing. And certainly didn’t like being in a position of being (or feeling)… beholden… to someone else.
As a result – he never was.
He made his own money. Paid his own debts. And never asked anyone for anything.
And he never needed anything from anyone…. including me.
But he would always give. Dad has always been very generous – and has always found it easy to give (and especially to his family).
But not to get. Never to get.
He doesn’t even like getting birthday or Christmas presents. They make him feel awkward. He says he doesn’t need them.
He doesn’t need phone-calls. Doesn’t need birthday cards. Doesn’t even need visits.
On the one hand… this makes him the most admin-free family member – because he has zero expectations. Of anyone.
But sometimes, I feel a bit sad that Dad doesn’t need anything from me. I would love the opportunity to GIVE something back to my Dad. Something that he needs. I would love it if he phoned me and asked for my help with something. It would honour me, deeply, to be able to help him.
And here’s an irony:
As it turns out… I’m now married to (surprise, surprise)… a fiercely independent Greek who ALSO doesn’t need anything. So independent is Nick (he who loathes the idea of me “mothering” him)… that – like Dad… he doesn’t really need anything from me.
This is definitely not a criticism. It’s one of the things I love most about Nick. I love that he’s never burdened me with a long list of expectations and duties. I love that he’s a Giver.
But the problem with Givers… is that they find it very, very difficult to receive.
And – in fact – they view “receiving” as “taking“. And a Giver’s dread is to be viewed by others as a “Taker”. In fact, I think one of the worst things that anyone could say to Nick… (or to my Dad, for that matter)… (or to Nick’s cousin, Helen)… is to accuse them of being Takers.
Now you have the back-story… here is the point of today’s post:
I don’t view myself as a Giver… or at least not in the same league as most Givers I know.
But… jeeeeeez…. do I absolutely and completely struggle to:
- Ask for help.
- Receive the help I’ve asked for.
Asking for help is… for lack of a better word… excruciating.
Asking for financial help is even MORE excruciating. There is so much… shame… associated with the act of asking. I keep thinking of beggars. I keep thinking of the words plastered on Grandad’s desk sign… and hear his Lancaster-laced voice, thundering in my head:… “… a bloody nuisance! Needy people are a bloody nuisance!”…
And I think: “I don’t want people to view me as a bloody nuisance! I don’t want to be a bloody nuisance to my friends… my blog followers… my family….!”
Everything in me wants… NOT… to ask.
I want to be the person that is in the position to give, do, serve, help and encourage. I don’t want to be the needy one… the “weak” one.
But – here’s the thing. I know this mentality of mine isn’t helpful.
And – more than that – I know it just doesn’t make any logical SENSE. Because, when my friends and family ask me for favours – I never view them as “needy”, “weak” or “a bloody nuisance”…
In most cases – I feel honoured that they asked me. Honoured that I’m able to help… honoured that they felt comfortable enough to ask
So – this post is about ASKING.
It’s hard and excruciating – but I’m doing it anyway (even if it’s just a way for me to face my own fears).
So – now you know. I’m asking for your help. Just click on this link to see why:
*big hug!!*…. X
PS: Here’s a TED Talk by Amanda Palmer (one of the most-watched TED talks… one that prompted me to buy her book… and one that also made me feel very challenged and uncomfortable)….
And finally – I’d love to hear from YOU. Am I the only person who struggles with asking and receiving? Do any of you struggle with this too? Have you managed to overcome these fears? How would you define a “Giver” and a “Taker”…? I’d love to hear your story!… x