For many of us, myself included, we are hesitant to ask for support. While we’re all different and we each have our own unique perspective, reaction, and process as it relates to reaching out to others, it seems that this can be quite a tricky exercise for most of the people I know and work with.
I have somewhat of a dichotomous relationship to asking for help myself. I can be a “lone-ranger” at times and often, especially when I feel stressed or pressured, try to do everything myself — either because I feel insecure about asking for support or because I self-righteously think that I’m the only one who can do it the “right” way. On the other hand, I can sometimes be quite expectant of others. For example, if I were sick I might think to myself “hmmm, if my friend were sick, I would do ABC”. Ah, to be human!
However, as I’ve also experienced personally and seen in others many times throughout my life and in my work, there is a beautiful place of balance between going it all alone and demanding help from others in an obnoxious way. This all stems from our ability to genuinely ask for and graciously receive the support of other people. The irony of this whole phenomenon is that most of us love to help others, while many of us have a hard time asking others for help ourselves.
Requesting support can often make us feel vulnerable. We usually think (somewhat erroneously) that we should be able to do everything ourselves or that by admitting we need help, we are somehow being weak. In addition, many of us are sensitive about being told “no” and by asking others to help us we put ourselves out there and risk being rejected.
What if we had more freedom to ask for what we wanted and for specific support from other people? What if we could make requests in a confident, humble and empowering way? What if we remembered that we are worthy of other people’s help and that our ability to both ask for and receive it not only supports us, but also gives them an opportunity to contribute (which most people really want to do).
It still might be a little scary, we may get our feelings hurt from time to time, and on occasion people may have some opinions or reactions to what we ask for or how we do so. But, when we give ourselves permission and remind ourselves that it’s not only OK, but essential for us to ask for help — we can create a true sense of support and empowerment in our lives and in our relationships!