Joan Fenold, LMFT

Psychotherapy for Individuals and Couples

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A Beautifully Expressed Essay on Receiving Help

by | May 8, 2013

Help is strangely, something we want to do without, as if the very idea disturbs and blurs the boundaries of our individual identity, it is as if we cannot face how much we need others in order to go on: we are born with an absolute necessity for help, grow well only with a continuous succession of extended hands, and as adults depend upon others for our further successes and possibilities in life even as competent individuals.

Even the most solitary writer needs a reader, the most Machiavellian mobster a trusted lieutenant, the most independent candidate, a voter. Not only does the need for help ever leave us alone; we must apprentice ourselves to its different necessary forms, at each particular threshold of our lives. At every stage we are dependent on our ability to ask for specific forms of help at very specific times and in very specific ways.

Even at the end, the dignity of our going depends on others willingness to help us die well; the sincerity of their help often commensurate to the help we extended to them in our own life. The need for help is never ending and every transformation has at its heart the need to ask for the right kind of generosity, and from a source other than our own.

From Readers’ Circle Essay, “Help”
©2011 David Whyte