Where in your life are you feeling challenged?
Will you ask for help to get you through?
Or do you believe it’s all up to you and that asking for help means you can’t handle your life?
Believe it or not, you are not alone.
For example, I recently spoke with Angela, who is feeling overwhelmed caring for her two young boys while experiencing chronic, excruciating pain in her neck and back. It feels like everything associated with child care exacerbates her pain: lifting, carrying, bending, etc. She beats herself up for feeling like she needs more support than she is already receiving from her friends and family. But she can’t not care for her children!
So she continues to suffer.
WHY is Angela so resistant to the idea of asking for additional help – even though she clearly needs more time and space to fully heal from her pain?
Because she believes she should be able to take care of everything herself and is failing as a mother if she can’t.
Whether in parenting, home-making, relationships, career…this belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness comes up in almost every coaching conversation I have with new and prospective clients. It is practically a universal trait – especially among women. We think asking for help means we are needy or not capable of handling our own lives.
Because we are instinctively and externally wired to connect with and take care of others, giving comes easily. Receiving, not so much. In our society, we are told that receiving assistance means we are selfish, lazy, a burden.
Yet we are often the first ones in line to help the people we care about.
Or even to help people we’ve never met.
Think about that for a minute…
Unsurprisingly, in response to my question, “Do you help others?” Angela replied, “Oh yes! I love helping others whenever I can.” And WHY does she love helping others? “Because it makes me feel good!”
See the irony here?
When Angela actually asks for help, she is allowing others to experience the satisfaction of being helpful. It allows them to feel purposeful.
Most religious and spiritual doctrines promote the idea of helping others to the best of our ability. We often hear, “It is better to give than to receive.” And giving IS good.
However, I learned a few years ago that in the Jewish tradition, receiving help is considered to be an even greater good than giving.
Because when you receive, you are providing someone else the uplifting opportunity of experiencing the joy of giving.
Being open to receiving help is actually a generous act.
Let me say that another way: Allowing others to help you is actually a gift to them.
So, be generous! Open up to receiving.
Let go of your belief that everyone else is managing just fine but you are somehow “less than” because you could really use some assistance.
When you receive, you are actually creating joy. You get relief by receiving the help that makes your life easier and less stressful, while others find joy in the pleasure of being useful.
Where are you feeling overwhelmed in your life?
What is your story about why you haven’t asked for help?
To whom can you bring joy today by asking them for assistance?
Whether a dozen people come to mind or none, you can always reach out to me, too. Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to listen, support, encourage and help – without judgment and with love. While this is my “work,” it is also my passion and joy. I would love to help.
Love & Lightness,