It’s the strongest and the most helpful among us that often have the most trouble asking for help. The frontline responders know that their duty is to rush toward the bang, while others run away. A parent knows that they put their own interests and needs behind those of their children. The person who others rely on to be cheerful and fun can feel like they have no one to express their sorrow and pain to.
Yes, a Stoic is strong. Yes, a Stoic is brave. Yes, a Stoic does their duty—without complaint, without hesitation. A Stoic carries the load, and willingly carries the load for others when necessary. But they also have to be able to ask for help. Because sometimes that’s the strongest and bravest thing to do.
“Don’t be ashamed to need help,” Marcus Aurelius wrote. “Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”
Exactly. So what? You’re not looking for a handout. You’re looking for advice. You’re not looking to be exempted. You’re getting your wounds treated so you can get back into the fight. You’re not looking to get an unfair advantage over anyone else. You’re taking advantage of the opportunities that were designed for precisely the situation you’re in.
If you need a minute, ask. If you need a helping hand, ask. If you need reassurance, ask. If you need a favor, ask. If you need therapy, go. If you need to start over, go for it. If you need to lean on someone or something, do it.
We’re in this mission together. We’re comrades. It’s okay to ask for help. If it makes you better, it’s the right thing to do.
P.S. This was originally sent on April 10, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.