The Courage to Be Weak

When you think of courage, the image that might come to mind is a soldier on a righteous cause or a first responder rescuing a child from a burning building.  To be courageous is to be strong.

But most of us show the most courage when we are weak.

It takes more courage to ask for help than to offer help.

It requires vulnerability.  It requires, often, for a proudly self-sufficient person to be out of options and rather desperate.  It requires an awkward conversation, the risk of rejection, and a blow to the ego that might last long after the situation or the need for help has passed.

And it is also difficult, because most of us don’t have great examples of it in our life.  We see lots of heroism.  Lots of opportunities to serve.  Lots of stories of the little guy accomplishing much.  We see the success (whether it is plastered in corporate branding messaging or on the white-washed posts that we see of our friends on social media).  We don’t see the climb.  We don’t see the rejection.  We don’t see the others who may have been involved.  

And we don’t see the ask.  We might never in our life hear someone in desperation ask someone else for help for something serious.  Beyond the “can you pick up the kids?” or the “can I borrow an egg?” variety requests.  I am talking about the “my career is floundering” or “my marriage is failing” kind of pleas for help.  We literally have no pattern to follow on how to start the conversation or how to respond to the response (whether positive or negative). 

What have you found to be the most effective ways that you or others have asked for help of any kind?