Knowing When to Ask for Help
In today’s demanding and complicated world, we all face daily challenges. Whether it’s needing advice in a relationship or how to handle an issue at work, to something far more serious, like feeling alone, rejected, or trapped in a marathon of the destructive cycle of addiction; admitting that you need help in these types of situations can be very difficult.
Do we want to expose our weaknesses to others? What will they think when they realize that we aren’t able to ‘do it all’? How will they see us differently if they know that we are struggling?
It isn’t very difficult to understand why we would be reluctant to reach out for help. If we admit to needing help, it may make us feel weak or inadequate. Even your most trusted family member or friend could possibly look at you differently if you were to admit that you need help, even if we know we need it.
So how do we face this fear? When do we give in and finally ask for help?
It is a common rule that self-sufficiency and independence are both qualities in a strong person. This results in people trying, for as long as they can, sometimes longer than they should, to help themselves. Conversely, what we need to train ourselves to understand is that asking for help is in fact a strong quality in a person. Not only does it take courage, but it takes relinquishing some control, which for most of us is very difficult to do.
These are some guidelines to help you take the next step in asking for help:
- Change the way you think. You are just one person, and if you continue to feel like you need to conquer everyday challenges on your own, you are likely to find yourself feeling overwhelmed. In this scenario, admitting that you may have taken on more than you can handle can be empowering. Enlist others to help; allow yourself to delegate some of your tasks to others around you. This could be asking a family member to help with chores around the house, asking a coworker to help with a project, or even asking a friend to give advice for your own mental health.
- Asking for help connects you. You may be the most independent person you know, able to complete tasks and projects successfully on your own. This is a fine way to live, but once you take that vulnerable step and reach out for help, you allow others to become a part of your life. Reaching out allows connections to be forged between you and your family, friends, or coworkers, it allows for a greater richness in life, and allows you to free up some mental energy that you can reinvest in important others in your life.
- Helping benefits the helper. The person, or people, that you have reached out to are likely to be happy that you have considered them trustworthy, as someone you can turn to in a time of need. Helping others out is a great way to feel better about ourselves, so in turn, you have also done them a favor! Sometimes we see it as placing a burden on someone else, but if the situation were reversed, you would be likely to be excited to help the person asking for it.
Here’s the point: even the best of us need help. The best time to ask for help is not after you have found yourself in-over-your-head but in the knowledge and acceptance that you are unable to get through something alone. Allow the truth to seep in, that asking for help and accepting it does not resemble a weakness, but a strength. More often than not, you’ll feel much better than you did.