Why is it so hard to ask for help?

painted into cornerIt occurs to me that as a society we have painted ourselves into a corner on one thing in particular and that is asking for help.

From early childhood we are taught to be self-reliant and to keep a “stiff upper lip”. We are told that big boys and girls don’t cry, they shake it off and go on, they get back in the game, they never give up. Whether it be in sports, in school or life in general those stereotypical images are reinforced in our youth until they become dogma.

But they are not true. We are not always able to shake it off and go on. Sometimes the issues that we are facing are so large or so confusing or so scary that we need help.

Needing help doesn’t make you weak, in fact quite the opposite. It makes you strong, smart, resourceful, and realistic. Being prideful is a weakness. Asking for help when you know you’re in over your head is STRENGTH. Don’t ever forget that! – unknown quotes

Sometimes the help we need is not deeply emotional or scary, it’s just something that we can’t figure out how to do; maybe it’s taking on a new challenge that we have never faced at work or trying a completely new sport or job. What we need then is wisdom. Ben Franklin said this –

“Man can either buy wisdom or borrow it. By buying it he pays full price in personal time and treasure, but by borrowing it he capitalizes on the lessons learned from the failures of others.”

The way one borrows wisdom is sometimes to ask for help from someone who has already been through what we are facing. Sometimes it is just enough that we know someone who has done it and obviously it didn’t kill them. Maybe they can help you overcome whatever fears might be holding you back about it and let you get on with trying. Ask for their help. People usually love talking about things that they have succeeded at or obstacles that they have overcome.

Sometimes the corners that we paint ourselves into are caused by the thought that we are the only ones who have ever experienced what we are going through, that we are alone with this issue or problem. This is an age-old feeling and was dealt with in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 1:9

Whatever has happened, will happen again; whatever has been done, will be done again. There is nothing new on earth. (This is the International Standard Version, which is just easier to read and understand)

The fact is that you are not the only one who has ever experienced a loss or experienced a set-back of faced a fearful situation; and you are only alone with your torment or sorrow or hurt if you choose to be. Help is all around you if you will ask for it. But, no; we try to tough it out; to keep a stiff upper lip; not to cry. We sit in a corner that we have painted ourselves into.

Show the STRENGTH to reach out and seek help. You will immediately feel better, just for having done that. That is the first step to healing or fixing the problem. The decision to take that first step is yours alone, but you need not be alone again, once you have stepped off.

The fact is that big girls and big boys do cry and it makes them feel a lot better for having done so. But after a good cry, wipe away the tears and take that first step out of the corner – ask for help.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”  (Brian Littrell)

One thing I have noted in the blog-o-sphere is the huge number of blogs that are devoted to the journeyedge of the abyssback from the edge by people who faced the abyss and got help to back away. That is an interesting side-effect of getting help and getting out of the corner. Once you have received help to overcome your issues, you want to help others overcome their similar issues by at least sharing the story of your journey. The blog-o-sphere can be like a giant group hug sometimes.

So, Keep Calm and Chive On!

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One Response to Why is it so hard to ask for help?

  1. […] Many times you may be in situations where you can’t figure things out by yourself and the advice of others would be helpful. I wrote about that, too –  https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/02/15/why-is-it-so-hard-to-ask-for-help/ […]

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