No matter how big and strong, we could all use a little help sometimes. We don’t ever know all there is to know, we certainly don’t expect that of others, so it makes sense that on certain occasions we ask someone for help.
Help is defined as giving or providing what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need.
Help can be experienced from two perspectives; positive and negative perspectives. The ‘positive experience’, this is when you give help to someone. This is often judged as fulfilling, you feel valued and it demonstrates your capability. On the other hand, help from a receiving end is seen as a ‘negative experience’. Most people find it uncomfortable, they feel very vulnerable and some people even prefer to keep quiet about needing help.
I feel the most important time to ask for help is when we are feeling uncertain, vulnerable, lonely, or feeling depressed.
As a professional counsellor and coach, experience has proven that receiving help can sometimes be a painful exercise for some clients, often; it takes courage to ask for help. This led me to research into what stops people asking for help.
I feel when we are too busy judging ourselves, it makes asking for help really difficult. Have you ever seen someone struggling; you offer to help them and they respond with the classic “I’m fine.” (This sits perfectly well with the acronym for FINE – Feeling Inside Not Expressed.)
Some answers that came back from survey on how people feel about asking for help were: “I don’t want to burden anyone”, “I am embarrassed or ashamed”, “I am embarrassed or ashamed”, “I feel like a failure”, “My friends might reject me”, “I don’t want others to feel sorry for me or think I am weak”, “I should be smart enough and strong enough, to handle this on my own”
Some equate asking for help to being vulnerable, and many hold the belief that to be vulnerable is to be weak.
Some may have felt humiliated asking for help in the past, so may fear repeating the experience in the future.
You may come to realise that the reasons above are filled with unconscious judgements about asking for help. When you think less of yourself for needing help, when you offer help to someone, you think less of them too. You cannot judge yourself for needing help and at the same not judge others for wanting help.
So why is it so difficult to ask for help when it’s needed? I feel it’s all down to perception.
What can you gain by asking for help?
Asking for help lessens the learning curve and you spend less time being stuck and more time getting things done. Your self-awareness and courage increases and you are able to move forward.
I can still hear you say, but… how do I ask for help, especially when it’s so uncomfortable? The question you ought to ask is: “Is my comfort really working for me?” When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
The path from knowing how to be good or great requires help.