When was the last time you truly felt overwhelmed by some crisis or obstacle you had to face, but you did not want to admit, even to yourself, that the problem existed, or that you would be unable to resolve it on your own? I’m not talking about something simple, like lifting a 50-pound bag of dogfood; I have no trouble at all asking my husband or son for help with that. I’m talking about something much more serious, like accidentally forgetting to back up a critical file on a computer, or dealing with injuries caused in a car accident.
The truth is no one is perfect; we all have shortcomings we struggle with on a regular basis. There will always be situations where we need advice, support, and/or assistance from others, even if the last thing we want to do is ask for help.
There is a commonly held myth that accepting ourselves as we are, flaws and all, and asking for help when we need it, becomes easier as we grow more mature. This is not necessarily the case; completely accepting our whole selves as we truly are is something we all struggle with from time to time.
- Often pride gets in the way of admitting when we need help, both to ourselves and others. It is natural to want to feel that we are capable, to present an image that is confident and competent. Unfortunately we may sometimes tend to use others’ perceptions of us as a mirror to bolster our self-confidence, without admitting that the image perceived by others doesn’t necessarily match what we feel inside.
- Our own insecurities don’t always allow us to ask for the help we truly need. We may worry that our requests will meet with rejection, belittlement, or that others will think we are lacking in some way.
- Sometimes we fear that those we would ask for help will think less of us for being weak. Weaknesses can be exploited by individuals or groups that prey on our feelings, that seek to make themselves look better at our expense. To ask for help requires that we open up, and allow others to see our vulnerabilities. To do so, even with people we trust, means facing our fears.
No one who truly cares about us is going to intentionally take advantage of our needs, insecurities, and weaknesses, but the irrational parts of our minds can’t always believe this to be true. Perhaps we have been hurt before, by someone who used us to express their own weakness, their own insecurities, in a bid to make themselves feel better. Perhaps we aren’t sure who we can trust.
When we are truly in crisis, ignoring the problem won’t bring the resolution we need; we must find a solution even if that means asking for help. I know from personal experience it can be a scary thing to do, but if you go to a loved one or a true friend, have faith they will understand. Someone who is worthy of your attention and your help in turn, will not judge, but do their best to assist you.
My advice is this: learn to accept counsel and assistance from others. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, even if it is uncomfortable to do so. Listen to opinions others may offer, but make your own choices. When in turn someone comes to you for help, put yourself in their place, and remember how it felt when you were the one in need. It truly is okay to ask and receive help; after all, we are all only human.