On Asking for Help

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I’m noticing a lot at the moment how difficult many of us find it to ask for help, and I wonder why that is.

Some of us have a fear that it will make us look weak or as if we are failing in some way.  Some of us don’t like to be a worry or a burden to others and feel that if we ask for help that’s what we’ll become. Some of us believe that we won’t get help even if we ask for it, so there’s no point in asking.  And some of us see those round us juggling their already busy lives and feel that we can’t possibly impose. Whatever the reason, many of us either don’t or won’t ask for help – sometimes until it’s too late.

I’m as guilty as anyone else – I had to really pluck up some courage the other day to ask my accountant for help with my book-keeping, and I felt ashamed of myself for having let things get to the stage where I needed help. Of course, she couldn’t have been lovelier when I told her what the situation was and once I’d put the phone down I was left wondering what I’d been scared of.

And then I thought about how I feel when someone asks me for help, and I realised that I never see anyone as weak or a failure if they do – I actually believe that it can take a great deal of guts to ask for help, and that we should be congratulating people for doing so.

So next time you need some help but don’t like to ask for it, try to work out what’s holding you back. If it’s a fear of being seen to be weak, ask yourself whether anyone will really think that of you.

If it’s worry about being a nuisance well, when was the last time you asked for help? Trust me, if this is your worry then I can guarantee that you’re NOT a nuisance because you won’t have been asking for help very often before!

If you think you won’t get help even if you ask for it, try to work out where that belief comes from. If it’s based on past experiences with certain people there are 2 things to bear in mind. One is that, just because some people may have been unhelpful in the past it doesn’t mean they’ll be unhelpful this time; the other is that if you ask someone else for help,  their reaction is likely to be different.

And if you think everyone else is too busy so you shouldn’t ask for help well – how do you know if you don’t ask? It’s up to them to decide that, surely?

Don’t forget, there are lots of people out there who love and care for you and WANT to help you – so don’t be shy of them!

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3 responses to “On Asking for Help

  1. Showing vulnerability is not a weakness, nor is not having all the skills in the world! We all need each other in one form or another. As you say, don’t be afraid to ask.

  2. I always like to think that I’m really good at asking for help and I am, but not for the big stuff. I’ve found an incredibly ‘proud’ part of myself since my now ex-husband left 15 months ago and I’m not sure what to make of it. So I suppose I would add to your lovely post that their are levels of help required. If I need help with childcare or for someone to go to the shops (or something like that) then I’m fine. But I am finding it impossible to talk about the big stuff and ask for help….that’s why I blog. It’s very cathartic, I’m sure you’ll agree.

  3. That’s a really good point Lisa, and it’s so often the case that it’s the things that we need most help with that we find it most diffcult to ask for. It comes down to vulnerability – the more vulnerable you are, the more you need help but the more you hold off from asking for it because it’s so exposing showing that vulnerability to the world. To my mind, the key is to think of someone you love dearly, and ask yourself what you would want them to do if they were vulnerable and in need of help – you would want them to ask someone they loved and trusted for help so they could get to a better place. So given that you love yourself dearly (I hope), why should you be any different? There are people you love and trust, who love and trust you, and they will want to help you when you are at your most vulnerable. So why not let them?

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