I’ve historically not excelled at asking for help. It is still a challenge, but I have learned through a lot of error that asking for help is not weakness, it is actually a way to strengthen relationships and ease struggles.
There are several reasons why we avoid asking for help. Let’s take a closer look at why, and how to get comfortable asking for a helping hand.
- Fear of Looking Incapable & Weak – This fear can hold most anyone back from asking for help. After all, no one wants to look incapable or less than, but tackling a problem alone isn’t always the right approach.
Remind yourself that we all need help at times. No one can possibly do it all, and many times the outcome is even better when we include others in the process. Asking a trusted ally for help creates a partnership and expands possibilities. Seek out friends that have the “expertise” to help with your particular issue. For example, a friend who works in the medical field may be just the right person to help walk you through an upcoming medical procedure, or help explain test results.
- Fear of Being a Burden – No one wants to feel like a burden or obligation, and sometimes we believe that asking for help is burdensome to others. If you say to yourself, “They are already so busy,” or “I hate to ask them again” you may believe you are being a burden.
People naturally want to help. It makes them feel good, and for many people, acts of service is their love language, so helping is core to their satisfaction in life. Allow that positive energy for both yourself and others. People feel honored that they have been chosen to help especially if we explain why we are coming to them. Explaining that their opinion and thoughts are important to you is a great way to show appreciation for their help.
- Fear of Indebtedness – This uneasy feeling can prevent just about anyone from asking for help. Indebtedness creates unequal footing, and a sense of scorekeeping both of which kill any natural sense of asking for and offering help.
Groveling doesn’t look good on anyone, but gratitude does. Come from a place of gratitude to get out of the feeling of indebtedness. Remember that people want to help, and simply being grateful is enough. Also, consider who you are asking for help. Choose friends and family that offer help with no strings attached. No one wants a scorecard waved around when they are asking for help.
Putting It All Together
Asking for help is hard, but remember that allowing others to help is a boost for both you and them. Better outcomes come when we include others, and people feel honored when they are chosen to help. Ask for help with a sense of gratitude to ease the feeling of owing a return favor.
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” ~Haruki Murakami