Is It Wrong To Ask For Help?
We live in a culture that values independence. There’s a common belief that everyone can and should take care of themselves alone, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get on with it. But is that really true? Do we have reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed or “less than” because we could use a hand?
The answer is no. Just, no.
So then, why don’t we ask for help more often? Sometimes we worry about the cost – if we take up a friend on her offer to help with carpooling, for example, we feel anxious about what she will expect in return. Asking for help can feel the same as admitting inadequacy or a lack of ability. We worry that everyone else is keeping their lives together but us, and if they can all do it, then we should be able to as well.
The problem is, other people aren’t necessarily keeping their lives together any better than you are. Everyone goes through ups and downs, and if you’re experiencing a “down” right now, there’s no point in comparing yourself to someone who doesn’t have your current challenges. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed. Life is overwhelming sometimes. Those are the times when we need a hand more than ever. And it’s ok to ask.
In fact, people who care for us want us to ask. Think about how you feel when you help out a friend or family member: Are you pleased to have the opportunity to hold something over their heads and “cash in” when you need it most? Then why would your friends and family feel that way about helping you out? Asking for help – and offering it when we can – increases connection between two people. It reminds us that we are a part of a community, that we’re cared for, and that we deserve help sometimes. We feel less alone when we admit we need help. And research is pretty clear that one of the most important protective factors for both physical and mental health, is a strong social support network.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes one to support an adult. Human culture has historically been focused around community, whether that’s a family community (with aunts and grandmothers contributing to the childrearing) or a community of neighbours. We weren’t meant to do this alone, whether “this” is raising our kids or coping with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or even high levels of stress. Don’t feel trapped into going it alone. If you could use some help, ask for it. Reach out.
If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, struggling to cope, I’m here to help. If you live in the Oakville area and you’d like to talk, as a psychotherapist I can help you with feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. You don’t have to do it alone. Click here to reach me.