Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. – Barack Obama
Asking for help sends me into a panic and brings on the cold sweats. I’ll do everything in my power to avoid it and, yes, often to my own detriment. Thinking about it triggers my gag reflex. My breath caughtes in the back of my throat. It feels like someone is walking across my grave. Oo, I just shivered.
Needing help is a horrible feeling. Relying on someone else is painful. Having them do something that I should be able to do it myself? Oh, it makes my heart race. Reaching out and admitting there’s something I can’t do? No, thank-you!
I know it’ll come as no surprise that I can’t do everything myself. As much as I’d like to think I can, I’m not a blue tank engine. There’s no guy, wearing a big old top hat, cheering me on. I can’t blow smoke out of…Whoa, sorry, I got caught up in a nostalgic, Youtube, vacuum this weekend. Don’t worry, I’m reeling it in!
I hate asking for help! Yes, I know I can’t do it all. I haven’t succumb to some deluded idea of adulthood. I am a strong, independent, woman but that doesn’t mean I don’t need someone to take care of that spider in my bathtub. (It’s been three days, and I’m too scared to go in there.) I fully realize, and appreciate, that independence doesn’t mean going at it all alone, all of the time.
Needing help isn’t a sign of weakness and, yes, it’s a sign of strength. Again, there’s a spider in my bathtub, and it’s creeping me out. I’m woman enough to admit that I’m not strong enough to dispose of that eight-legged freak. Admitting that doesn’t make me weak. It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s not a weakness!
Have I asked anyone to help me with my infestation? Would one spider considered an infestation? Probably not and, no, I have not asked someone to take care of my little problem. Kinda hoping it resolves itself so I won’t have to ask for *gulp* help. Maybe the situation is getting out of hand?
Asking for help is such a hard thing for me because, when I do, I feel like a burden. It has nothing to do with the person I’m asking. No one has “made” me feel this way. Usually, when I ask, they’re happy to help. Recently, a friend said, “I wish you’d ask me for help more often.”
Uh, yeah, I’m still processing that one.
Oh, but here I am, caught between logic and emotion. These two entities have become my internal grand canyon. Kind of like the spider and the windowsill. Logically, I know that seeking help from the right people, is the right thing to do. I know that they’ll be happy to help if only I’d put myself out there. This whole burden nonsense? That’s not something they’re putting on me. Logically, I know it’s a burden I’m placing on myself.
But those pesky emotions!
Maybe it comes from being sick for so long? I wasn’t in control of my own needs and that put me at the mercy of others. I was so sick that showering, getting dressed, and making food became damn near impossible. Asking for help was a luxury I couldn’t afford so I swallowed my pride and I accepted it gratefully. There wasn’t a choice and, to their loving credit, my family put their lives on hold to help me live mine. They never hesitated to show up. They never complained, not once. They were there for me and I can’t begin to express my gratitude.
I also feel guilty for putting them in that position.
The logical said of my brain is yelling at me. I know it wasn’t my fault. I know I didn’t, “put them in that position.” It was beyond my control and, logically, I know that they chose to help me out of love. In fact, without a moments thought, I would do the same for them. I know in my head and heart that I’m so lucky to call these people, family.
However, unwarranted guilt gives a small voice a microphone. It takes a fleeting feeling, and it gives it a podium to preach its lies. It sirs up the emotions until every brain cell is screaming, “BURDEN!” No one wants to feel like a burden. None of us want to be a burden so asking for help?
Well, the mob goes wild.
I never want to be a burden but, more conspicuously, I don’t want to be at the mercy of other peoples kindness. It’s a horrible feeling. It’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt, and I never want to be that vulnerable again. Except, the most loved I’ve ever felt were in those moments of incredible weakness and vulnerability. When my family and friends showed up to help me? They loved me that much!
I have to remind myself on an hourly basis that: Thoughts are fleeting and emotions aren’t facts. Just because I feel like a burden and I think my needs are too heavy, doesn’t make it true. Asking for help isn’t a sign of failure or weakness. Asking for help takes strength and, for some of us, a great deal of courage.
But when we ask for help? We’re opening ourselves up to love and kindness. Perhaps, even the greates love we’ve ever experienced. Isn’t that worth the risk?
So, um, this is awkward, but I have this spider situation and I could use some help.
So relatable! When women try to prove ourselves as equals we often shun the notion of seeking help & appearing incapable. I think men actually need help just as often, but maybe it’s because they were raised to expect it in certain ways & demand it as authoritarians that they don’t have to ask as often… and if the creature in your tub was a snake or a mouse, then call me, but for a spider, I need help too!
I think you’re right. Cultural and gender expectations factor into our inability, or reluctance, to ask for help. Fear of being seen as weak when we’re told to be strong….& thanks, if a reptile chases a mouse into my home you will be my first call lol!