A lot of people who know me know I’ve been an active follower of Stoicism in the past. I’m less so now–because of what modern Stoicism has become. However, I do still follow along with texts and quotes from Stoicism that enlighten and nourish me. There’s been a couple of quotes I’ve come across recently that have fed my spirit and helped me grow. Today, I came across this:
“Don’t be ashamed to need help. 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?” – Marcus Aurelius
Really: So what if you need help?
Our society, unfortunately, blames and shames people for needing help and encourages us to not help other people. But, like I’ve said before, no human is or should be an island.
I know of some people who take these cultural messages, which are probably intentionally meant to deteriorate certain aspects of our society, such as unions, and try to whole-heartedly live them out. They try to be islands unto themselves.
This rugged individualism is a myth, I’m sorry to say. I’ve read, studied, lived and mixed and mingled enough to know that the people you think are islands unto themselves–who you look up to–are really, in some way, shape or form, dependent on someone else, too.
This life, according to Marcus Aurelius, is somewhat like a battle. We are on a mission. If you get wounded along the way, so what if another warrior helps you up. (And, while I’m at it–so what if that warrior is black, white, transgender, gay, straight, Mexican or Muslim? If you’re down for the count, do you really want to shun these people? If your life depends on it?)
We really need to re-think our stance about giving and receiving help. There is, like the quote says, no shame in it whatsoever.
I’ll wrap this up by saying that whether you give or get help through personal means or through social programs, it’s all the same. There’s no shame in it at all. You shouldn’t resent the help you give. And you shouldn’t feel shame if you get such help.