Overcoming the Struggle to Ask for and Accept Help
My hands froze for what felt like several minutes before typing: “Hey, this is me asking for help. Can you pick me up this week? I can’t drive on the medication I have to take but would love to go to the event on Thursday.” I paused, then hit send. My nerves began to escalate while my thoughts ran wild.
“Why am I burdening my friend?”
“I live out of the way.”
“She has better things to do with her time.”
Within minutes, the reply came in: “I can definitely come to get you!! Thanks for asking for help.” Relief swept over me.
Asking for help is not my natural inclination. Neither is accepting help when it’s offered. It’s much easier to convince myself that I’m creating an unnecessary inconvenience or burden. At the heart of the matter, my inability to ask for and accept help usually stems from a desire not to appear weak. I prefer to “have it all together.” But the hardest days only feel harder when I try to push through on my own.
Living in a culture that praises self-sufficiency and tends to look down upon weakness, becoming vulnerable enough to ask for help is difficult to overcome. Even knowing friends and family desire to help ease the burden of difficult circumstances, it’s easy to get caught up believing they will think less of me for needing help.
Instead of believing the lie that asking for and accepting help is a weakness, I’ve begun to see it as an opportunity to connect with others and be served.
“Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”Brene Brown
Portraying the appearance of having it all together makes people unaware of our needs. If people fail to show up in the ways we want them to, we must ask ourselves if it’s because they don’t know we need help. Even our closest loved ones will find it difficult to show up if we fail to communicate.
During times of need, there are two options: lean away or press in.
When questions like these begin to run through my head, it’s clear that I’ve leaned away:
+ Why don’t people realize I’m struggling?
+ Why do I feel so lonely?
+ Why don’t I feel supported during these trying days?
Leaning away makes it improbable that people know how to care for me. Leaning away creates distance in a time where I long for connection. Leaning away leaves me to face the burden alone. During these times, it’s easy to convince myself that no one cares or no one understands what I am facing. But this is not reality. We must open up, press in, and share our struggles for people to have the opportunity to offer the help we need. And when they do, we must be in a space where we are ready to say yes.
When we lean in and open ourselves up to others, a connection is created that allows us to no longer feel so lonely in our experience.
Vulnerability invites people in. Opening up about our struggles provides people with a deeper sense of what we are going through. That sense of understanding is often all we are after.
The battle to be open and ask for and accept help is something I contend with weekly. Asking for help goes against every inclination in me, but I also know it’s a disservice to ignore my need for help. As I continue to fight against my natural tendencies, I remind myself to:
+ Recognize when I need to ask for help and vulnerably step into action.
+ Say yes when help is offered (even if I don’t think I need it).
+ Show up for others when I see a need to remind me of the gift it is to serve.
Overcoming the struggle to ask for and accept help is an ongoing battle–one worth fighting. We were never meant to walk this life alone. If we fail to ask for help when we need it, we’ll fail to find abundance. Asking for and accepting help from people ensures we don’t have to face the burdens of life alone.