there was a time when I was one of those ‘do it all by myself’ people. I never asked for help. I just struggled on alone.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with being self-reliant, but we can take it too far.
Once I learnt to ask for help my life became so much easier. And actually, asking for help is a compliment. People like to feel needed and wanted. It’s a good thing.
One Reason We Don't Ask For Help
However there’s a second step to the ‘asking for help’ process. It's a step I was missing and over the years I’ve met many people who have made that same mistake.
That step is to make sure we ask the right person for help we need. It means asking ourselves.
‘Is this particular person the right person to help me with this particular problem?’
I know that sounds simple, but so many times we just view ‘asking for help’ as one big concept without properly thinking it through. It's useful to understand that people have different strengths in the areas of feelings, thoughts and actions.
For example some people are great listeners. They acknowledge how you feel and offer much needed warmth and empathy. But they’re not at all good at taking action to help you in practical terms. So if you've been expecting practical help from them, it can leave you feeling stuck.
Some people are fantastic at stepping in and helping out in practical ways, but they don't tend to express much empathy or warmth. It's not that they don't care, but if you've been seeking empathy you can be left feeling rejected when they don't express that to you.
Then others are incredibly logical and can give you great advice on the steps you need to take to resolve an issue, but that's where it stops. So you can end up feeling alone with your issue.
Be More Intentional About Asking For Help
The problem is that if we don't stop to think this through we can ask the wrong person to help us in any given situation. Then when they let us down we go through a myriad of negative thoughts and feelings such as:
How could they let me down!
They just don't understand how I feel!
They say they care but they don't do anything to help!
Don't they get what I’m saying - I can’t do this all by myself!
I can't trust people not to let me down. I may as well struggle alone.
It's helpful to remember that most people are fundamentally kind, well meaning and really want to be there for us. We can help ourselves too by being a little more intentional about who we ask for help in which situations.
So the next time you need help:
- Please do reach out and ask someone
- Make sure you think through the type of help you need and choose someone who you know is good at that!
It’s a simple thing, but taking this more intentional approach will have a powerful impact on your relationships, and your life.
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