Updated: Mar 30
Why is it so hard to ask for help? If this question resonates with you, I can almost guarantee that you have no problems helping others, regularly and with gusto!
So….why can’t you accept the help when you need it?
Let’s look at how this might play out in real life.
Imagine you have a problem. You:
· Think through the 1,000 ways to fix it.
· Think those all through again….for days.
· Google the keywords and read about it….for days.
· Look up books that might help.
· Google all that again.
· Think about calling someone to help you walk through it….then think through all those scenarios to fix it on your own…again.
· Talk to someone that needs your help…then go back to fixing it on your own.
· On, and on, and on.
That is a lot of mental energy.
Why not just ask for help? Because of fear.
Many of us fear asking for help, thinking that it makes us appear weak or helpless. Our brains have been wired to do things on our own. There is a myriad of reasons for this, but the reality is that all of those reasons keep you from asking for help, and keep you spinning in your own mental chaos.
Not asking for a help is a reaction, not an intentional action. When we are in reactionary mode, our brains go into overdrive trying to protect us from emotional or physical danger – and it doesn’t know the difference. In this state, you are not an intentional human, you’re just responding to the fear that your brain thinks is real.
So, what to do? Here are three ways to respond, instead of reacting.
Many of my clients aren’t buying this breathing thing. “How can breathing help me deal with this problem?” Here’s the thing: when you’re in this reactionary mode, your brain simply isn’t working. The Executive Function area of the brain, which you need to solve the problem, is completely shut down and the fight, flight or freeze mode is totally in control. And, your body is all bunched up waiting for that danger, with less oxygen going to your brain.
How can you possibly get anything done in that state?
Take three deep breaths – the kind that make your shoulders move and your chest expand. It will make all the difference in the world.
Acknowledge Your Fear
Fear is not a sign of weakness. The acknowledgement of fear is a sign of resiliency. Why are you afraid? Write down the answers to engage the executive function of your brain. You’ll be surprised by what you find.
It could be a fear of being rejected, vulnerable or not appearing like you have it all together. And then ask this question:
“What would I say to a friend if they came to me with these fears?”
I am pretty certain you would be saying much kinder things to a friend than you would to yourself.
Make one small step:
Text a friend or trusted family member and ask them to call. Pick up the phone and call someone you trust and respect. Just start talking. Each time you do this, your brain will build a “I can ask for help” neuron and it will get easier.
Find a coach or counselor.
Sometimes, having a person that you aren’t emotionally connected to can be incredibly helpful. If you know the reasons you don’t like to ask for help, a coach might be the answer. If you have no idea, committing to counseling might be helpful in uncovering all that chaos.
The fear of asking for help is common, but it doesn't have to be a way of life. These small steps will create a big change, if you commit to taking them.