Why Asking For Help Can Be A Challenging But Necessary Skill Set

Louis Laves-Webb

August 3, 2017

Whether it be learning how to dance, wanting to know how to disassemble an engine, or wanting to ask your partner for some support, asking for help can be a desirable means of making our way in the world. However, even the thought of asking for help or assistance can bring up feelings of resistance, stoicism, or insecurities that can be powerful barriers to connection, support, and a more fulfilling and fruitful system.

Having The Ability To Ask For Help Is a Actually a Strength

Given the strong western societal emphasis on individualism and self-reliance, asking for help can initially appear culturally counter to some of the “value-propositions” of what it means to be an American. However, upon deeper examination the failure to ask for help when needed tends to perpetuate self-neglect much more than self-reliance.

No one person can do it all by themselves. Societies function within a system, neighborhoods function within a system, and families function within a system. When we fail to ask for help when needed, we simply fail to utilize the systemic support surrounding us.

It can be challenging to admit to another or to ourselves that we may not know a specific answer or know the best means of finding a solution to a problem. However, psychological growth only happens in places that contain some measure of challenge.

By admitting that you need help you are allowing yourself the opportunity to gain insight, support, and growth from others in a proactive manner.

Barriers to Asking For Help

Fear of being “found out”

By definition, the very act of seeking assistance from another proves that you don’t have all the answers. This experience can bring up insecurities, concerns related to perfectionistic ideals, or feeling like an imposter. These types of feelings can lead to inaction or simply wanting to do it on your own.

However, not knowing how to do a task does not make you bad at what you do, it makes you human. No single person is able to accomplish all problems alone, and by revealing your limitations you are providing others with the opportunity to share their insight, learn from you, and create an experience that may be life-enhancing for both parties.

Being vulnerable

Getting in touch with feelings that you may not feel complete power or control over can be difficult. It may make you more susceptible to ultimately being hurt and so there can be a tendency to shy away from these types of feelings. The truth is that if you ask for help you may indeed get hurt. However, that the only way to experience a richer and more rewarding existence requires facing some of the same vulnerabilities that could also result in being hurt.

Not wanting to know the answer

There is also the possibility that on some conscious or unconscious level that you might be afraid to actually find out the answer. This form of denial can be self-defeating and could contribute to manifestations of “sticking your head in the sand”. Admitting that you may have a propensity toward denial can be an important step toward getting some of the help you maybe truly needing.

Trust in someone else may be difficult

Trusting someone and sharing your concerns can be difficult at first, depending on your specific history, environment, and experiences. However, by allowing others to get close enough to share their experience, skills, talents, time, and insights, you are showing strength and can experience the by-product of cultivating more trust in yourself and others as you are engaged in the process of receiving help.

Concerns with self-esteem

Another barrier to asking for help might stem from a form of lower self-esteem. You might feel as if asking for help is something that you haven’t earned or are simply not worthy of. Low self esteem can also manifest itself as limiting beliefs, such as the belief that independent individuals should be capable of handling any issue that comes their way.

Ask For Help Today

Ultimately, the process of asking for help can be fraught with barriers, self limitations, and cultural pushes toward self-reliance. However, asking for help is a sign that you are ready for a positive change; one that comes from a desire to enhance your life while challenging limiting assumptions with your own brand of perseverance.

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