"Help! I need somebody! Help! Not just anybody!"
Help. It's a loaded 4 letter word for me. "Please help me" is a phrase which fills me with frustration. It's like a little whine behind my back when someone isn't strong enough to manage on their own. It's that signal that you're too weak, needy and pathetic to do it yourself. The needy part is what makes me flare my nostrils and clench my jaw most. And as such, it is extremely hard for me to admit that I ever need help but I'm extremely good at offering, and giving without confirmation of a requirement, help when it's not even been asked for. Condescending cow that I am.
In life, I find it tremendously hard to say when I need help. It's something I've become more and more aware of over the years. When I was a teenager my dad commented that I 'always try to do too much' when I struggled up the stairs with arms full of crap to take back to my bedroom only to drop half of it and hurt myself in the process. I'm a very good starter of projects so I'll go in all enthusiastic and then when I struggle I go quiet and don't ask for help so the project fails. In a new situation, with new people who I want to like me, I'll take on every little shitty job no one else wants in an attempt to ingratiate myself. Of course this always bites me on the arse when I fail at doing anything properly because I'm spread so thin or I'm up till all hours doing little things and then I get sick because, again, as my dad said, I'm 'burning the candle at both ends'.
Now being a mum, I can't risk that. I have to be at least at 80% most of the time to look after Level One. I have to carve out a bit of time each week to recharge my batteries and do something for me or I'll crash and burn. And no one wants Real Life Burn Out. So I had to start asking for help. It's painful. I feel horribly guilty when I ask for it. I don't want to put anyone else out but I've realised I need to ask for it.
In Warcraft I've learnt to ask for it too, but I still struggle. In our raid team, I am committed only to setting up raids and getting the invitees into a group. After that, the team decides where to go, what tactics to employ, who runs what mobs and so on. I enjoy this. It gives the team a really great atmosphere and means I can raid without feeling any pressure and I can say to them "Guys, I don't know, what do you think?". I still struggle with dungeons, but running them in guild groups and with Darklive means I have on-hand help without having to confess my weakness to the rest of the Azerothian populace.
My condescending cow routine comes in when I'm running a dungeon I know and I can see lower levels running it with me. I remember one particular instance of Oculus normal, way back when. I was level 80, raiding and looking pretty swanky with my Titansteel Destroyer. There were 3 people in the group yet to ding 80. I can't remember why I was running it, probably because I was too chicken shit to tank something more level-appropriate or other. Anyway I think I did ask if they knew the dungeon. I could be wrong, but (and this is my big shame) I proceeded to explain the whole dungeon as we went through. No one else spoke the entire run. No little 'lol', not a thing. I persevered trying to be helpful, trying to be witty. By the end of the dungeon I was feeling rather smug, "look at me! I led the group and no one died'. No one said thank you though either.
Its taken me until quite recently, and another parental influence, to make me realise that sometimes, if you offer help, or in the case above, practically force it down someones throat, you might be robbing them of a chance to grow and learn. As much as I'm learning to ask for help when I need it, I'm also learning not to force it upon people. When Level One gets frustrated by something (take your pick, babies get frustrated quite easily when they can't do/have/reach what they want), I have to hold myself back from rushing it. If I always help him, always pass the sippy cup, the toy, lift him up to reach the TV remote for him to chew (yey safe parenting!) he will never learn and grow. He won't pull himself up and stand, he won't go from rolling to crawling to walking. He'll just think life is going to come to him. So I have to hold off a little. Let him try again, work a bit more and enjoy the smile on his face and give him a great big clap and cuddle and 'well done!' when he does it for himself. And so I have to ease off a little in Warcraft too. I don't need to jump to answer everyone's question in /g. Quite often people will figure it out themselves, or someone else will answer and usually with a better response than I would have given anyway. If someone is really in need and I can help, I try to. If I can't I say so too because there's nothing worse than radio silence when a plea does go out in /g.
Whilst I'm doing all of that, I'm learning to let go of my judgemental, and frankly unhelpful (ho ho ho) attitude towards those asking for help. Some people are just better at knowing their limits than I am. Help. It's not just a Beatles song. It's an opportunity. Offering it, receiving it, what you do with it is up to you, just remember to thank the poor sod who offered it.
I still miss that Titansteel Destroyer.