“Why didn’t you ask for my help?” This is the question Charlie posed to me after we learned that I had sustained a concussion last summer.
This was to be my first of two concussions that I sustained a few months apart.
Essentially, my first concussion was the result of me trying to do too much on my own and not asking for help when it was clear that I needed assistance. And, my second concussion (three months to the day after my first) occurred after I had been giving too much of myself; “helping” others nearly non-stop for days.
Asking for help (and knowing and honoring my limits) is something I have struggled with most of my life. While there are many reasons (both in my nature and nurture) that have contributed to this being one of my lessons in this life, I know it is an area where I will continue to be challenged. And, if I’m doing my work, I will also continue to grow and learn.
Why We Don’t Ask for Help
There are an endless supply of reasons we tell ourselves for why we don’t ask for help. Have you told yourself any of these things?
- I don’t want to be a burden.
- I should be able to do this on my own.
- If I were __________ enough I could do this on my own.
- _________ is going to think I’m ___________ if I ask for help.
- I’m the only one who knows how to do it the right way.
- They already have enough on their plate.
But, what if by asking for help you are doing something good for yourself and for someone else? The truth is that in asking for and receiving help from others we are building our relationships and forging stronger connections.
It is absolutely untrue that we are better people if we do it all on our own. In fact, those who won’t ask for or receive help often cause estrangement and alienate those around them.
I do want to acknowledge that likely every single one of us has asked for help at some point in our lives and did not receive the help that we needed. I know I have. That is a painful thing to experience and can leave us with wounds that are hard to heal. We can heal those wounds though; it is always up to us in how slowly or quickly we want to work through that process.
If it is this wounding that has kept you from asking for help, might you be in a place now where you are able to ask a safe person in your life for a small help? To get yourself started on the road to healing and accepting the love and kindness of those around you?
I know for myself that while I have experienced the pain of asking for and not receiving the help I needed, I have been blessed to have much more often received the help and support I needed.
This doesn’t mean that my old hurts and stories don’t impact me still. Or that I don’t have times I think I need to do it all on my own. Or, that I don’t have that old story re-visit: the one that tells me that my worth is tied up in how I am able to help someone else but that I can’t ask for help because I am not worthy.
Those stories are strong and loud at times, but my desire to be in relationship with those who matter to me and to be kinder and more loving to myself is stronger.
Choosing to Ask for Help
While I sincerely hope that you are able to ask for help before you hurt, know that even if there is already hurt (whether physical or emotional), every moment is a choice and you can still choose to ask for the help you need.
- Where are you in need of help?
- Has someone already offered to help you?
- What if the help you were needing is already available to you?
- Can you ask for help (even with one small thing) today?
- Will you?
- And, when it comes will you receive it?
Whether you are similar to me in the ongoing struggle of not asking for help when you need it, or it is just one specific area or thing that you need help with, I hope you will give yourself the grace of allowing helping hands to support you.