I don’t even know what I’m asking. I want to ask for help. But I am afraid to reach out to you. Why am I so sure that you won’t love me if you really knew who I am?
Why are we so afraid to ask for help? I should be able to figure out all of this by myself. I am embarrassed, ashamed and feel inadequate that asking for help will diminish me in your eyes. If you knew how screwed up I really am, you would run for the hills. And you certainly wouldn’t still love me.
In our shame and loneliness, we become more isolated, more depressed and our pain is magnified in the very loud quiet of our room all alone.
Perhaps you, or someone you know, has had this experience. An event, a memory, a conversation triggers a negative response in your brain. You start to ruminate about it. Memories of similar events pop up to add to the distress. You start to feel sad and depressed and your thinking becomes more dark and negative. There does not seem to be a way of this downward spiral.
Somewhere this is a little spark of an idea that reaching out to someone could help you out of this dark hole. But wait! Calling someone could expose all of those negative aspects of yourself that you don’t want anyone to know about. So you don’t reach out. This place of dark and stuck inaction can be debilitating and a horrible place to live in.
Here are a few ways out of the “I won’t ask for help, because you won’t like me” box.
Ways to Make It Easier to Ask for Help:
Make an agreement with a close friend that you will support each other in asking for help. Acknowledge to each other that is challenging to do this but you will practice.
- Start with tiny requests. Practice asking for help where there is little risk involved. In my “recovery” from the fiercely independent club, I practiced requesting help with things like lifting heavy packages or reaching for items that I could not reach on a high shelf.
- Notice how people respond when you ask for help. Most people are pleased when someone requests a hand with something. It makes them feel good. Becoming more comfortable asking actually creates ways for others to experience being appreciated. That sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?
Go ahead. Get your feet wet in the warm waters of receiving and giving help. Come on in the water is fine. You’ll feel better. Really.
Would love to hear about a time you asked for help, even though you didn’t want to, AND it turned out well.
Here is a wonderful song by my friend Julie Geller about asking for help. I think you will enjoy it: