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How to Understand that Accepting Help is Not a Sign of Weakness

Updated on December 31, 2012

Can you hold this for me?

Can you hold this for me? Thanks. Also, I don't want to be seen with you.
Can you hold this for me? Thanks. Also, I don't want to be seen with you. | Source

Today, we are raised to be self-reliant, independent individuals who do not need anyone else for money, love, assistance, acceptance, or anything else.

But, that's impossible. There is no way to be completely self-reliant. We are social creatures and require external aid to meet our needs.

That's easier said than done for many of us, however. In this hub, you'll learn how to wrap your head around the idea of help so as to accept it in.

A Few Specific Situations

In absolutely every element of our lives, there is room for the assistance of others. They range in severity, of course, but there's always room for help.

These moments of aid tend to fit into different categories. Here's a breakdown:

Public

When do members of the public intervene in your life? There are usually very small, minimal moments of help, and very large ones that can make a huge difference in your life.

  • Opening and closing doors
  • Letting you go ahead in line
  • Making change, or giving you small change
  • Telling you there's toilet paper on your shoes, makeup on your teeth, etc.
  • Preventing or ending a violent attack

Friends

Part of being friends means you do things for each other. But, there are different levels of friends. It might feel more difficult to ask an acquaintance to do something for you, but it can also be hard to ask your best friend for big help.

  • Helping you move
  • Picking you up from the airport
  • Watching your pets and plants while you're away
  • Jumping your car battery
  • Driving you home after a night out
  • Loaning you money to cover a small expense
  • Loaning you a large sum of money (for whatever reason; usually a close friend)
  • Being the godparent or guardian to your child(ren)
  • Serving in your wedding party

Family

When it comes to family, you tend to have to ask for very uncomfortable types of help. This is especially pertinent when you're a young adult trying to make it out on your own or a new parent. Expenses and responsibilities pile up, and it feels like you can't do anything by yourself. In addition to those for friends, here are a few of the tasks that might need our family's help.

  • Making a down payment on a home or vehicle
  • Caring for your children long-term
  • Covering maintenance and repair expenses
  • Buying technology (laptops, cell phones) when you are unable

Families exist to help each other.

Families are for better and for worse.
Families are for better and for worse. | Source

Consider the scenario.

Accepting help from others is more about accepting your own faults and needs.

That concept in its own can take some time. So, sit with it.

Ask yourself:

  • What's going on right now?
  • Who offered help?
  • Do you need it?
  • Can you survive without it?
  • Would it be better to have it?
  • How much better?
  • Would you have to repay the help?
  • Would it be okay to feel indebted?

Often, I'll arrive at the "No, I lived before they offered help and I'll survive without it." But, then you're stuck in a pretty tough spot that you know could be avoided.

Unless I have a major problem with the person offering assistance, I usually end up going for the help in the end.


Changing a Flat: A Common Way of Accepting Help from the Public

Would you accept help changing a flat from someone you don't know if you needed it?
Would you accept help changing a flat from someone you don't know if you needed it? | Source

Cut yourself a break.

Let me pause this for a moment to tell you what you need to know:

YOU DESERVE THIS.

You deserve good things. Happiness. Joy. Relief. Ease. Peace. Help.

I don't know you, so how could I know these things about you?

Because every human deserves good things that bring simplicity and ease into their lives.

Why do you think that you should not have that?

Yes, we live in a time of convenience. Everything is instant pleasure and immediate gratification. It's worth it to do hard work and experience the joy of hard-wrought winnings.

But, there are times that the effort isn't worth the gains. You must look within yourself, figure out what's holding you up, and then respond to that.

Three Scenarios

Perhaps you don't want to accept help because you don't want to rely on others. Perhaps you don't want to be beholden to a specific person. Or maybe you just like doing this one difficult project on your own.

In the first scenario, you're being too self-reliant. In the second, you're avoiding unhealthy commitments. In the third, you're listening to your instincts.

The only unhealthy excuse in that set is the first one. If you aren't accepting help just because you don't want help, you need to figure that out. Why are you so focused on doing things on your own?

Weigh out the pros and cons while including "I want to take care of myself" on one side of the list. Do not allow it to be the only factor in the mix. And remember, you deserve help.

Social Animals: "You pick my nits; I'll pick yours."

Source

Society thrives on others.

Hey! Did you know that societies, communities, and families all depend on others? In fact, they cannot exist without other people.

Are you in a society, community, or family? If so, you owe things to others and they owe things to you. It's part of the social contract. It's how this whole human world exists.

If you won't accept help at all, then no one else should. If you only want to give and never receive, you're not fueling the cycle of give and take that is so essential to social bonds.

If you accept this money from your parents, you can give back by caring for them in the future. If you accept this ride to the airport from your sister instead of paying $50 for a cab or $100 for parking, you can give back by watching her dogs and plants when she goes out of town.

Yes, there is an element of "owing" someone after you accept their help, but that's part of life. Each step propels our social circles and keeps the entire shebang going. Plus, life and relationships aren't all fun. We know that. Having people who want to help and being able to accept that aid is one way to make it easier and more rewarding.

Video: "How to Ask for Help Effectively"

React necessarily.

This point refers back to the issue of not accepting help merely because you wan't do everything yourself.

There are times when you should not accept help. This depends on the situation and people involved, but there have been many times in my life when I know to say no to people who will take this moment as something more than it is.

But, there are also times that you should accept help. It's up to you to figure out when and who you can trust people enough to say yes.

Try to take these offers of assistance as gifts instead of feeling like people are writing off your abilities. More often than not, an extended hand is a token of good will.

Don't be a sad, pouty pug.

Source

What about when people don't mean their offer?

We've all been there before. A coworker offers to help you move over the weekend. Distant friends tell you "if you need anything, and I mean anything, please ask for help!"

Even if they mean it in the moment, do they really want to go out of their way?

Unfortunately, there's not really a way to know without taking advantage. They might "just be saying that," but they might also mean it.

If you need the assistance, ask. If they offered and don't want to, they'll learn the lesson not to offer, even if it is polite. If they offered and they do want to, they'll be happy to do something for you!

I know this is hard to believe, but people who offer help sometimes really mean it. Try saying yes every now and then. You might even find your little world expanding in a positive way.

Accept help from others if it can bring peace.

I'll avoid getting too cheesy and metaphoric here, but it says something pretty profound to make a symbol of peace with the help of others.
I'll avoid getting too cheesy and metaphoric here, but it says something pretty profound to make a symbol of peace with the help of others. | Source

Reader Poll

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A very important message; this is a lesson that took me a long time to learn. Happy New Year to you my friend.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Well done and I love the pictures. You hit the nail on the head here. Great hub..Voting up---+++

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rachel,

      What great info and message here. We all need a helping hand no matter how small, it's all significant and has meaning. Well written and love your collection of photos used. Votes and shared!!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great message. It is difficult for me to accept help from anyone but i'm learning. Thank you..

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I have a sister who is very shy about asking for help when she needs it. Thanks for the information and message that will help many to reach out as needed.

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