Updated: May 8, 2021
What early messages did you receive about asking for help?
How did those early messages shape your thinking about asking for help?
What stigma, if any, was attached to asking for help?
Do you wait for others to recognize you need help?
There are indeed benefits to asking for help, but the purpose here is to reflect on what meanings are ascribed to asking for help. Some of my early messages about asking for help were "hold your own" and "never let others think they have something over you." Another message "make do with what you have." Those early messages have meaning and sometimes get in the way of progress.
Life is sometimes unpleasant. Sometimes there is unavoidable suffering, but it doesn't mean you throw in the towel. It's German Philosopher Nietzsche who reminded us that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Our every experience has the potential for meaning-making. Our backgrounds aren't meaningless. The beautiful thing, we get to decide what is meaningful and worthy of pursuit. Be ready for your newest experiences and make them meaningful. Learn to be flexible in your thinking and adaptable to change.
Asking for help is not as simple as one might think. Who wouldn't ask for help when needed? Well, "may you please help me" is not as straightforward as we may think. Yes, asking for help should be simple. Who wants to waste hours searching for information or trying to solve a problem without the requisite knowledge?
Asking for help is not a challenge to your resilience and your courage as a person. Resilience is an excellent quality to develop, but even resilience has its limitations. Especially in situations where someone with more experience is needed to provide direction. Therefore, why decide to do a poor job because your pride is driving your decision-making. Asking for help is not the same as having nothing to contribute.
This is not a resilience challenge. Individuals high in resilience can adapt to challenging situations. These individuals, generally, demonstrate high levels of psychological wellness and the ability to rebound from adversity. But not seeking assistance when needed has its own set of consequences.
Contrary to what you may or may not have learned about asking for help, it is not a weakness or a lack of will. Asking for help isn't necessarily someone doing something for you. It can be someone pointing you in a direction, and you can do the rest. Help can be a verb, noun, and exclamation. But you get to decide if, when, and where you ask for help.
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