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Do You Find It Difficult To Ask For Help?

Updated on September 14, 2009

A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone. 
His father came along just then. 
Noting the boy's failure, he asked, "Are you using all your
"Yes, I am," the little boy said impatiently. 
"No, you are not," the father answered. "I am right here just waiting, and you haven't asked me to help you."

We are social creatures. Man has always lived life around communities. We gravitate towards relationships. Yet, how many of us find it difficult to ask for help – even from those most dear to us? You may find that in some areas of your life you have no problem asking for a hand, but in other areas it is simply too difficult – or it doesn’t even cross your mind. What is it that holds you back? To make matters worse, sometimes we won’t even accept help that is offered! Here are some thoughts to consider.

Ask for help
Ask for help

Maintaining Personal Pride

This basically comes down to what image you want to portray. If you want an image of being able to handle everything and cope alone, then to ask for or accept help will destroy that image. It will bring you a sense of shame that you simply cannot even contemplate bearing. The ironic thing is that often others won’t see your accepting assistance as being a failing but as being normal. It is part of being human. Often people want to help others and, in fact, when you turn them down, they can feel hurt.  Many a time when you refuse to let your pride go and you insist on “suffering”, you cause difficulties for those around you.

For example, say you are sick and should be resting but you insist on carrying on as usual and getting no help from family members. Initially you may be able to cope but, if you get sicker, your ability to function optimally will decline and this will affect everything in your life. Your work will suffer, you may take your falling mood out on your loved ones etc. To make matters worse, it will take longer for you to recover. And, what if you end up in hospital? Where is your pride and strength then?

Going to great efforts to maintain your personal pride can be counterproductive at the end of the day. Suffering unduly and being a martyr is not necessarily going to maintain your pride.


Sometimes you simply decide that this is something you are going to do or achieve and you will do it alone. Yes, this can be a good thing but you need to stay realistic. There comes a point where you need to decide if you are going to let it go or ask for assistance.

For example, say you are running in a marathon. You have set your mind on completing this race and getting a bronze medal. You have been training for months, driven by images of hanging that medal on your wall. Then you are in it, running this revered marathon; you are not far from the finish, only a few more miles; and you get a cramp. If you don’t make it to the stadium before the cut-off time, the medal won’t be yours. You know you can ask your running partner for help; they let you know beforehand that they would be there if you needed. You can lean on their shoulder and they will assist you in making it to the end in time. What do you do? It’s your choice. Go it alone and possibly forego a medal, or hobble in on the shoulders of assistance? How stubborn are you?

Perhaps continuing without assistance is going to even hurt you and you’ll have to take a rest from running for a while. How stubborn are you?

Build trust in others
Build trust in others

Trust in Others

Sometimes we battle to have faith in others and to trust that they will do something or do it as well as we can. Often by letting go of our reservations in this regard we open ourselves up to greater connection and the commitment of the other person to help us in the best way that they can. Besides which, what is perfection and why should everything be perfect?

We often find that by including others more in our lives we will find greater enjoyment, go further and achieve much more.

Unconstructive Beliefs

We all carry self-limiting beliefs. Some of these can come to the fore when we need help.

For example, you may believe: “A good wife does all of the housework and looks after the kids. I should be able to do this. If I don’t, then I am a useless wife.” That is fine and well, but what if you work a full day as well and you simply don’t have the energy? If your husband offers to help, why say no? Because of your beliefs and “shoulds”?

These beliefs that can cause us so much pain come from our experiences and our upbringing. We need to question them and change them so that we can live enjoyable lives.

Our Fears

Fears abound in our lives and the fear of someone saying “no” to us is often one of the biggest. What if the person we ask for help says “no”?

We may feel rejected. Rejection is an experience that we want to avoid. Rather don’t ask and suffer, than ask and have to face potential rejection. If someone says “no”, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like you or don’t want to help or won’t say “yes” in the future. Perhaps they can’t, or are unable to at the moment or a whole host of other reasons.

What you need to do is be realistic and take things at face value. Don’t take it personally if they decline.

When you feel fear your task is to determine what the fear is and what is underlying that fear. Once you understand the fear, then you can work on conquering it. In this case, overcoming fear would mean getting help when you know it is best for you.

Know that you are worthy of help
Know that you are worthy of help


Probably the main problem in this case – and in most areas of life where we struggle – is our sense of self-worth. We can simply feel that we do not deserve help. However, by the very fact that we are human and that we are braving a life on earth, we have all the worth in the world that is required to be helped by another. In addition, we are all equally as deserving of help.

There is also no need for help to be conditional. Just because somebody helps you doesn’t mean that you are now indebted to them. It doesn’t mean that you are forever beholden to them. It is a moment in time when they choose to assist and you choose to accept it. In the future you are just as free to choose to help them or not.

Developing self-esteem is key to being all that you can be in this life.

By asking for help and accepting assistance when we are in need we are in fact furthering ourselves and the other person. We can build better relationships and restore the sense of community that is so easily lost. We can all reach greater heights in this life. This is our ultimate purpose, so why hinder that by refusing to reach out and accept?

Image credits: man pushing world - foxspain; team lift in water - notsogoodphotography; woman helping - babasteve


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    • JulietduPreez profile image

      JulietduPreez 8 years ago


      That's good to hear. Think we need more teachers like you.


    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      good advice. As a teacher I always said to my student about the manner. Including how to ask for help. I'll tell about it to my student.