When I was a child I hated being helped. I was a “Mary quite contrary” type except I wasn’t yet in a profession where that was considered a sign of intelligence. I’d ignore the advice, aid and help of teachers. I preferred to figure things out on my own.
A story that I’m sure will eventually turn apocryphal as I get older involved a horse trainer and needing to be left alone. I was was having trouble with a jump in a group less. My horse kept throwing me and ducking the obstacle. My trainer did his best to give me advice on how to keep my posture and encourage my horse. He kept piling on advice and kept his focus on me. And I kept not making it over the jump.
I probably fucked it up over a dozen times. Eventually my trainer gave up and went to help another pupil. Without the glare of a professional, I finally gathered myself up, held the horse firmly in hand and soared over the jump on the first try.
Holy shit was my trainer pissed. “Julie didn’t need my help at all! The second I turned my head she just handled it herself.” From then on my trainer learned that I’d happily internalize his training but if he kept too close of an eye on my I’d develop a kind of learned helplessness. I’d get worse and not better.
I sometimes wonder if this tendency remains a part of me. I like attention so I’ll accept help if someone is willing to give it to me. The upside to this is I am always learning and questioning. But if I’m not careful I’ll just keep enjoying the benefits of helplessness. But I can’t linger there. Because I know moment I’m left to my own devices I’ll gather up the knowledge and willpower and make it over the jump. But it can be temping to wallow in helplessness.