Comment: When was the last time you asked for help?

Comment: When was the last time you asked for help?

  • Shadia Majid
    Shadia Majid

    Commentator at VG. Former drilling journalist. He writes mostly about school, health and integration. Follow on Twitter: @shaziamajid_

A Helping Hand: Commentator Shazia Majid says many people have a very high threshold for seeking help.

I was very bad at asking for help when I needed it. I regret that. Because we need more than the welfare state, we need each other.


iconThis is a comment. The comment expresses the writer's position

I have friends who believe in sending handwritten thank you cards at the end of the year. This is also a thank you card.

Something happened this summer.

The time I stood on the sidewalk with shopping bags on the floor. Inside was a loaf of bread and some other ornaments. But I couldn't stand them. Not another step.

Two days ago, I had collapsed my neck. But I didn't know that then. I thought I was being overly sensitive and needed to pull myself together. But there, on that walkway this summer, it stopped.

Then my neighbor Karen came walking. The sun was shining, and so was her blonde hair. This is how you remember the moments that change your outlook on life.

Karen smiled and I couldn't smile back at her. I asked what was happening. I said: No, nothing. do you need help? No, no, I said. Then I apologized: I didn't think carrying such a small thing would be a problem, but I can't do it, I said feeling ashamed.

Because yes, it's embarrassing not being able to handle yourself. In a country where we run ourselves.

If we do not do this, it is not the neighbor who takes care of us, but the state. We have outsourced care.

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This is good. But it also creates distance between people. It hides illness, loneliness and other human suffering. As if such a matter does not exist, and in any case it should not burden those near and far. Other than through the tax bill.

I've seen that all my life.

For example, all those new mothers who are struggling almost alone through the nightly vigils, the breast implants, the stitches that need to heal, and the dinner that needs to be made. It is hardly possible to get any help, other than the child's father, who is at work half the day.

While now I'm standing there with my shopping bags and have no idea what to do. Before Karen showed up. She was on her way to the store, but she turned on her heels and grabbed my bags.

She carried them all the way home, up the stairs, to the door, and wasn't satisfied until she put the food in the refrigerator. You amazed me in more ways than one.

Karen taught me something I really know, which is that it's okay to accept help.

That people are willing to help, if only we dare to admit that we need it. Few people can help with the big, difficult things in life, but they don't have to either. That's why we have the welfare state.

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This is about the little things in everyday life. This type of help provides relief in a different way – unlike any generic offer or medication.

That's why I now ask for help when I need it.

Have you ever asked for help?

Have you ever asked for help?

This is actually the first time since I became an adult. Even when I became a single mother, I didn't want to ask anyone for help. Not even from my immediate family and close friends. It was very important for me to show that I can handle myself, that I am very good. You don't want to be a burden. People have more than enough of their own.

But providing help doesn't have to cost a lot. on the contrary. The research is clearHelping others without taking into account personal gain makes us happier, provides better mental health and greater life satisfaction.

Like I asked a completely random guy at the store to help me lift the soda into the cart. He was a little surprised. But I saw that it was a shame for him not to be able to help. “I've got a drop in my neck, you see.” And he realized that.

In the store room a boy who looked like my son was sitting, and he saw the steps. Offer to lift all the food into the trunk.

They may not remember me, but I will remember them.

Because asking for help shows weakness, and at the same time makes us more vulnerable. We can get no, at worst we are taken advantage of. Obviously it's scary. But it also gives others the opportunity to help. Which in turn helps build trust and show humanity.

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It creates connections, connections we need. Especially now, after almost four terrible years. First with the pandemic, then with the Ukraine war and subsequent violent price increases that threw tens of thousands into economic uncertainty. Not least the cruel war in Gaza.

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It won't be any easier moving forward. The welfare state on which we have become so completely dependent is changing.

In the future, the health care system, NAV and other social welfare schemes will all need to be managed differently. It will be more compact, and there will be fewer staff to take care of more people. Less money should last longer.

We must manage ourselves to a greater extent. Then we need each other. Perhaps we need to reintroduce the village that was once necessary to raise a child and maintain a small community. Only in newer forms.

Like in my building, I created a Facebook group where we can talk, meet and ask for help.

But it starts with you. As it did for me.

It ends like this: Thank you so much, Karen, the random guy in the store, the boy at the checkout, and everyone who helped me. Who do you want to thank this year?


Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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