Needing Help Doesn’t Make Me Weak

Why is it so hard to ask for help?

This is something I have struggled with all of my life (although I’ve gotten better at it over the past year or so as my dog walking, snow shovelling brother will attest – you’re the best!).

For a long time, I thought needing help was a sign of weakness. Of course, if someone else needed help, I didn’t think they were weak; no, this was a judgment I reserved for myself. My self-worth was hinged on my independence and to ask for help made me feel unworthy. It made me feel weak, as if I had failed at being the independent and self-sufficient person I always strove to be.

Here are some things I’ve done instead of allowing someone to help me*:

  • Sat home alone and cried on a Saturday night instead of accepting a $20 loan so I could join my friends for a drink.
  • Spent way too much time and energy in various stages of moving instead of letting some pack a box for me.
  • Insisted my first concussion wasn’t that big a deal and watched a lot of Netflix, in spite of good advice from a friend, and subsequently took a long time to heal.

There is a common theme here. If I had asked for help in these situations, or accepted the help that was offered, I would have gotten things done quicker. I would have had fun. I may have healed quicker. Instead, I’ve usually ended up alone, lonely, exhausted, cranky or depressed.

Here’s what has happened since I’ve started letting people help me:

  • Things get done quicker and often with a laugh or two.
  • I gain perspectives outside of my own that help me deal with difficult situations.
  • I want to help those who have helped me.
  • I have deeper and stronger relationships with the people around me.

Everyone needs help and it’s not a sign of weakness or a deficiency in character. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you can’t make it on your own and accepting that you will, from time to time, need a helping hand is not only helpful (imagine that!) but a relief. It’s OK to need people, and the friends and family in your life who love you will want to help you and appreciate the opportunity to show they care.

I still struggle with this. However, I believe the words that I’ve written here. I know that needing help and asking for it don’t make me weak. Maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe it actually shows that I’m strong.

* My memory is a bit spotty so I asked for help on Facebook for this post. I asked people to remind me of some examples of when I refused their help, even though they knew I needed it. I didn’t get many specific examples but I did get a few comments along the lines of “Where do I start?” So this should tell you everything you need to know about how deeply ingrained this approach has been to my life. And given that, perhaps why it’s so difficult to change.

 

 

Advertisements