The importance and pleasure to ask others for help
I never liked to ask for help. I hated to do so while traveling. I always thought that to stop, get out of the car or worse, to pull down the window and ask for information, was unpractical and awkward. I think that many people, especially males, are convinced that to ask for help is a sign of weakness. Associated with that was my reluctance to enter in relation with people I did not know. After all, why should I establish a contact with somebody I knew nothing about?
Last summer I organized in Rome, on behalf of ICF, a conference on Emotional Intelligence by an American professor. The day of the conference, I took David Ryback, this is the name of the Atlanta professor expert on EI, to visit some of my favorite spots in Rome: the three levels San Clemente church, the Crate Hill in Testaccio, the Capitol Hill through its backside passage from where there is a fantastic view of the Roman Forum. When I happened to leave David by himself for a few minutes during our tour, I always found him talking to strangers, usually tourists but not only. I was a little surprised by his behavior, his appetite for sharing experiences, even for a very short time, with perfect strangers. It made me wonder what moved him to do this.
A few weeks later, after David had gone back to the States, I realized that he, being an expert on human relations, was acting upon the apparently very simple awareness that we are all already connected, regardless of the fact that we have been introduced to one another or not. This means that we live surrounded by a living network of support. We share with everybody else on this Earth the same space, air, food, overlapping languages and cross referencing cultures. We enjoy the same feelings.
It is as if the little toe of one of our feet would suddenly realize to be connected to all the different parts of our body through million continuous interactions, thus discovering that it has never been alone. With this awareness it can now ask for help to all its “network points”: the other toes, the hands, the eyes, the brain, all the other parts of the body.
All of a sudden the veil of doubts and apparent certainties which enfolded me was lifted and I started to change my attitude towards others. I started asking for help, thus gently entering in relation with others. I discovered that if I try to do everything by myself, by acting as if I am alone, which I never really am anyway, everything I do gets more complicated, long, difficult, winding, just like the alternative fancy routes devised by my car navigation system when I refused to ask for help to passersby who definitely knew a lot more than me and my car.