Summer of Self Care – Day 27

Asking for Help

What makes asking for help so difficult? Why does it take people so long to ask for help?

We’ll get to that in a moment but let me just say this.

Asking for help is Self Care – plain and simple.

When others ask you for help, you may or not be physically or emotionally able to help them. And we’ve already learned the value of saying No in that situation.

But often we are afraid to ask for help because the person or persons we are asking may say no. But when you think about it, is that a personalized response or just an admission that they do not have the capacity to help at that time?

A No only helps us to understand who cannot help at that time and guides us to another person.

Maybe asking for help seems like a weakness – an admission that we can’t do everything ourselves. But we can’t always, can we? Realistically, can we live our whole lives without the support or input or assistance from another human being?

According to Laurie Leinwand in a great blog post, you gain three things by asking for help:

  • You gain the ability to move forward.Rather than staying “stuck,” you know how to proceed. Can you remember a time you hesitated in reaching out? Chances are you felt a certain degree of stress associated with this. You weren’t being as productive as you wanted to be. You may have felt foolish in not being sure of your next step. Not believing you could ask for help might have fueled symptoms of anxiety. That is, until you asked for help and felt the relief of finding out what you needed to know.
  • You gain the opportunity to collaborate.If you’ve been tasked with something to do independently, it’s best to try to do it on your own. But if you’re stymied, seeking advice or assistance gives someone the opportunity to share with you. While not everyone is able to say “yes,” people are often honored by the request. It means you admired their expertise or abilities enough to inquire.
  • You gain the opportunity to learn.Pay attention to who is willing to help and what they are willing to do for you. Really listen to strategies being communicated to you, and take notes so you don’t have to ask the same questions twice.

When you need help, ask yourself:

  • What cues are you getting from others that they are willing to help?
  • Where are you stuck and in need of moving forward?
  • When have you helped someone else and been honored to do so? Are you willing to accept that someone else wants to have that same feeling?
  • Would asking for help create a way forward today?

Here’s a Ted Talk that I absolutely LOVE and helps to demonstrate all these things in a way I can’t explain without Ramona’s help. This story is everything I believe about human kindness, radical collaboration and the ability to move forward in extremely difficult situations. Enjoy.