In kindergarten, we’re all taught to help each other out, even with small things. Somehow, that sentiment doesn’t translate into adulthood. Asking for help is a universal fear among men and women.
It’s unclear exactly how some women get the idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but it’s something many carry with them as a child and well into adulthood.
It could be as simple as an innate fear of appearing weak or deficient. It could also be something learned as a child, even if not taught directly. Children interpret the words and actions of adults through the filters of immaturity and lack of experience.
When a child is encouraged to be independent, strong, and confident, they might conclude that asking for help is bad; that asking for help makes them weak, stupid, and unworthy.
The reasoning power of a young child is limited, and unfortunately, the interpretations we make as children go unnoticed until we’re faced with an unexplainable fear – like being afraid to ask for help.
The truth is, asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of immense inner strength. Here’s why:
1. Asking for help builds courage
Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s acting in spite of your fear. By asking for help, you’re building the courage to walk through your fears to obtain your desired result.
2. Asking for help gives your friends the opportunity to support you
Say you’re depressed, or dealing with a stressful situation at work, and just want someone to talk to. People naturally want to help others; many people are constantly looking for ways to be of service to others. By asking for help, you’re providing your friends with the opportunity to support you and make a difference in your life.
Your friends want to share your burden. It sounds strange when you’re the one struggling, but your friends will be delighted to help ease your pain. Besides, if you’re miserable and never ask for help, people won’t want to be around you. Asking for help benefits everyone.
“The truth is that we all have gifts to share – time, talent, connections, insights, experience, skills, resources, hospitality. And most people love to share them!” Margie Warrell writes for Forbes. “We can all do so much more together than we ever can alone. Too often though we ‘tough it out’ rather than reading out to ask for help when we need it most. Fear gets the better of us while depriving others of a chance to show they care and share their gifts.”
3. Reaching out helps you acknowledge the extent of your struggles
As an example, if you’re struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, you might know you need help, but you may not know how much help you actually need. Reaching out gives others the opportunity to help you in ways you can’t specifically ask for.
“Addiction is quite literally a disease of perception,” Feinberg Consulting points out in an article detailing one person’s journey from addiction to freedom. “People who are suffering from addiction cannot at times differentiate what is true from what is false. It’s as if there is a shut window between their thought process and reality.”
Placing your trust in others to help you through addiction is the best way to get the help you need.
4. Asking for help reduces your resistance to rejection
After you get rejected several times, it will stop affecting you. You’ll start to notice rejection really isn’t personal. Some people aren’t cut out for the kind of help you’re requesting, and others may not know how to help. Whatever the reason, exposing yourself to rejection is the fastest way to get over being affected by rejection.=
5. Asking for help tells people you trust them
Asking for help from a friend shows you trust them in a big way. When you ask for emotional support, it tells them you trust their confidence. When you ask for business advice, it tells them you value their knowledge and experience. By trusting them, they trust you.
6. Asking for help acknowledges imperfection
Despite the fact that nobody is perfect, it takes great strength to acknowledge imperfection. Asking for help from others tells them you don’t consider yourself above them; you’re human, and you’ve got room to grow.
Learn from animals
Animals don’t talk themselves out of asking for help when they need it. Don’t allow your mind to talk you down. If animals can be brave enough to ask for help from humans, you can, too.