Help Me Howard…or Anybody Actually…

help wanted sign

Photo Retrieved from SalaGraphics

I’ve realized that it’s really hard for me to ask for help.

I sat back and I thought about why asking for help is this huge challenge for me.
I figured out the reasons why are:

-I fear being vulnerable to someone else or being rejected.
-I fear placing my responsibilities onto someone else and they drop the ball.
-I don’t want anyone to feel burdened by me.
-I fear appearing weak or needy.
-I fear not being in control of all aspects of my life.
-I’m pretty prideful and I believe I have to be resilient, self-reliant, and independent, and I fear appearing any less than that.
-I  also fear…..

stop sign

Photo Retrieved from NASGA

Fear, Fear, Fear, that’s all it is!

All I’m doing is letting my fear stifle me from looking outside myself and utilizing my support network! This is probably the most backwards logic because although I don’t like to ask for help, I love to help others when asked. In fact, it makes me extremely happy to be asked, and I’m quick to go above and beyond. I will drop all of my own responsibilities, despite the consequences, to help someone else. I’m literally getting a Human Services degree to professionally help people lol.
How is it that am I so quick to offer help, yet I still don’t appreciate the value in asking for support enough to ask for it when I need it myself?

woman with confused face

Photo Retrieved from LadyLebz

confused woman shaking head to express "not getting it"

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Makes no sense at all but it’s real.

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Photo Retrieved from iEmoji

We all respond to times of trouble and struggle in different ways. Are you stubborn like me and don’t ask for help when you need it?? Do you too struggle in silence too? Why??

When did asking for help become a negative thing? When did asking for help take away your independance?

It could be because we’ve watched our parents, or other role models “get it done” on their own. Or maybe we’ve been conditioned to believe asking for help is a sign of weakness or incompetence. Or maybe we simply just don’t know how to ask for help. In a society that largely promotes self help, the idea that some of us need to learn ways to seek and ask for assistance from others isn’t really promoted. Maybe you’ve been vulnerable and asked for help before and the experience left you feeling humiliated, or some other response that caused you to feel like you would never put yourself in that position again. There are countless solid reasons why asking for help may be a challenge for you. If you sit and reflect on it I’m sure you will come up with a list like mine that points to a common theme like fear, lack of confidence, lack of trust, or whatever your vice is that’s getting in your way.

I believe that the hesitation to ask for help is because we have the wrong perspective about it. Me for example, I love to help because of how it makes me feel. It gives me positive feelings; I feel needed, satisfied, valued, significant, and appreciated. I feel like I am doing good and making a mark in someone’s life. Do I see the person that’s asking me for help as weak? No, of course not. I see them simply as a person asking for support in a situation. Yet I will think all the negatives of myself if I need to ask for help? Double standard much??

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If you are like me, then WE are looking at this all wrong. We get in our own way when we make asking for help mean something about us that isn’t true. We get caught up in thinking it means we’re weak, inadequate, helpless, inferior, or some other negative label. The reality is that asking for help does not indicate anything about you; it plain and simply means you need help in a specific situation, or at a specific time. That is all.

Asking for help is actually a sign of strength and courage because THAT is what you display when you seek out help when you need it, not weakness. Don’t ignore the fact that help is a two way street with benefits for you and the other person. Instead of incorrectly thinking that asking for help means you’re a burden, know that you are actually giving others an opportunity to feel good about themselves like you do when you help others. It’s a win-win baby!

The helper gains confidence knowing they are a good person and they enjoy the good feelings that come from that. Studies call it the “helper’s high”– the portion of the brain responsible for feelings of reward, is triggered when someone helps someone else. The brain also releases “feel-good” endorphins and chemicals and makes you want to do more. So look at you, asking for help, and making the world a happier place!

man pointing at someone in acknowledgement

GIF Retrieved from Tenor

Whoever helped you ends up feeling great, you get the help you need, and you get the affirming reassurance that there are people out there that you can call on when you need them, and they will be there for you and have your back.

two stick figures holding the other's "back" in their hand

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It’s OK not to know everything. It’s OK not to be able to do everything on your own. It’s OK to need someone else. There is no shame in letting someone extend a helping hand to you. We all have something to share whether it be knowledge, time, talents, connections, insight, experience, skills, resources, or simple love and care; and the reality is most people love to share them. We can do so much more together, in partnership, than we can do alone. Think of the quote “Two hands are better than one.” It’s true. Too often we choose to ‘tough it out’ rather than reaching out to ask for help when we need it most.

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Photo Retrieved from FizzyPeaches

I don’t expect you to read this post and just jump and start asking for help every time you need it, but I’m saying challenge yourself to do it more. I challenged myself recently, and I’m so happy that I did. I had been feeling really emotionally drained and almost like a machine constantly running from my internship, to school, to work, meetings, and all the other things I have on my plate. Then after all that, I get to unwind with a nice plate of homework, how exciting, lol.

woman smiles then quickly switches to straight face

GIF Retrieved from GIPHY

So anyway, I was feeling drained and it’s not that I needed anyone’s help to physically do something, but I did need help changing my mood and I needed to feel supported. I sent a text to a few of my friends that simply said “ Hola! Just asking you to keep me in your prayers and send love and light my way. I’ve been struggling a little lately and just want to ask you to make sure you keep me in your thoughts!” I felt extremely vulnerable and it was uncomfortable. Not the strong, invincible Neffi! Yes, the strong, invincible Neffi, and you know what? The love I felt from them in their responses let me know why I should never feel fear of reaching out to people who love and are there for me when I need to. Why the heck am I letting this fear disable me? Not any more.

woman turning finger left to right to express "no"

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I want to share these two articles with you, 5 Mistaken Beliefs About Asking for Help, and 2 Words That Make Asking for Help a Lot Easier and I encourage you to read them. See that you are not alone in this struggle and you can change your perspective for your own benefit. Asking for help can be scary and hard but by having the courage to ask for help, you’re not dragging yourself or anyone else down, you’re pulling you, and them up. No more struggling in silence, no more feeling you are not worthy of someone else’s favor, because you are. Replace those negative thoughts with thoughts of empowerment. Everyone that you know needs help at some point so don’t criticize yourself. Ask for it once and you’ll be better at asking the second time, trust me. 🙂

“Ask for help not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong”
– Les Brown

Love you,