I recently took the Enneagram for the first time. The Enneagram is a personality test that examines your core fears, desires, and motivations in life. Reading about my Enneagram type was a very enlightening for me. I learned that I am a Type 2 in the Enneagram system which is known as the “Helper” type. This type posses many strengths. Type 2s tend to be warm and caring people who love encouraging and helping others. They are good at understanding people and helping people understand themselves. This resonated with me and these are some of the traits that I value within myself.
However, as I kept reading, I also learned some things about my Enneagram type that hit a little too close to home. For example, helpers have a core need to be needed. They tend to base their identity on the approval of others and need a lot of validation. While this type loves taking care of other people’s needs, they struggle to let other people help them. And can you guess the sin that they tend to struggle with the most? Pride.
This description really resonated with me. I hate asking people for help. Maybe it’s because I’m worried that I’ll inconvenience them. Perhaps I fear that they’ll be annoyed with me. However, if I’m really honest with myself, the root is pride. I don’t want to admit that I’m struggling. I want to appear like I have it all together and can manage just fine on my own.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been reading a lot of Brene’ Brown’s work. Her perspective on asking for help has really got me thinking. The following quote comes from her book Rising Strong:
“When you judge yourself for needing help, you judge those you are helping. When you attach value to giving help, you attach value to needing help. The danger of tying your self worth to being a helper is feeling shame when you have to ask for help. Offering help is courageous and compassionate, but so is asking for help.”
She suggests that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is actually one of the most vulnerable and courageous things a person can do. It’s also a key component of healthy, mutual relationships. I’m also realizing that when I don’t let people in, I’m not fully loving them. Loving others means giving AND receiving. When I refuse to let people help me, I’m actually robbing them of the joy that comes from helping others. Just like helping others makes me feel good, letting others help me makes them feel good.
So I’m learning to ask for help when I need it. Because it’s actually a very courageous thing to do.