24 June, 2008

Law of Adaptation III

Takers Give Taking A Bad Name

Everyone know what a Taker is. We’ve all met our share of Takers in our lives. Some of us have co-workers who are Takers; people who wouldn’t know what a Fair Share is, if it hit them in the face. Some of us even have friends or family members who are Takers. If they don’t steal the clothes off your back, they feel no shame at dumping all of their emotional garbage on you, or draining away all your energy with their relentless demands. Basically, Takers give taking a bad name.

Over the last weeks, I’ve been talking to friends and family about this concept of give and take as a way to adapt to life’s circumstances. It is very obvious that all of the women I have been talking to are uncomfortable with the concept of taking. The idea of asking for help, stating what they need and when, is paramount to asking them to participate in some deviant form of sex. Actually, they probably would prefer the later.

Here are three examples of circumstances that my friends cannot master on their own and when I made a suggestion of asking others to help, they initially rejected these possibilities. Only after much discussion and persuasion did they agree to seriously consider acting on the suggestions.

Case 1

My dearest and oldest friend (meaning we’ve been friends for 35 years now) immigrated to New Zealand about four years ago. They (she, her husband, and two children) set a goal to come back to Europe to visit family and friends in 2010. Now, with the weak American dollar causing havoc on their jobs and financial situation in New Zealand, she fears they will never be able to afford a trip back home. I suggested to my friend to ask her friends in Germany if they would be willing to help them pay for train fares or B&B costs during their stay here. If I know they will be coming in two years time and start setting a bit of money aside now, then I am sure I can save up a few hundred Euros to help them. I’d far prefer to do that and be able to actually see them after so long, than never see them again because Europe is just so expensive.

Case 2

A friend of mine lives on her own. She is experiencing a nasty summer flu that’s left her running from her bed to the bathroom for days now. I offered to make some soup for her or do some grocery shopping. She insists that she has enough in the house. Only after more probing, does she admit that she has not had anything warm to eat in days.

Case 3

My sister is keeping care of our dear uncle, who is dying. She sits for hours each day holding his hand and inwardly, spiritually helping him to breathe. She is missing her boys and her home. I suggested that she ask my brother and his wife to come down and give her a few days rest. I suggested coming over from Germany to give her a week’s rest. Once again, as in the other two cases, much persuasion is needed to convince her that even though she feels personally responsible to stay by my uncle’s beside, there are other people out there willing to help.

In all three cases, the person in need, initially, felt great resistance to asking for help. They would prefer to continue along their path of isolation, illness, and emotional strain, than admit to those who love and care for them they need a helping hand. What would you do in the above-mentioned situations?

I think we all have to start reflecting why we are not able to indicate our needs; not knowing whom to ask, or when, or how is just not smart. It doesn’t make sense. When was the last time you asked someone to help without feeling embarrassment, shame, or desperation?

1 comment:

  1. How much of this is cultural? I never hesitate to ask....which gets me in trouble sometimes.