Accepting help is a natural part of life.
As John Donne once said, ‘No man is an island.’ What he meant is that everyone needs help sometimes. And great things cannot be accomplished by just one person.
When you begin to think of help as a way to create connections with people and achieve greater things than you would alone, you might find it easier to ask for help when you need it.
Shifting your perspective on what it means to receive help can create positive change in your life.
Why Is Accepting Help So Hard?
If you were taught that asking for help isn’t okay, you may be hesitant to ask for help when you need it. Many of us received messaging that asking for help makes us weak, incompetent, or needy.
There are many reasons why people might have trouble accepting help. Perhaps asking for help wasn’t modeled to us as a child. Or maybe when we’ve asked for help in the past, it wasn’t given to us.
Whatever the reason, your willingness to accept help is not a fixed characteristic. It’s a skill you can learn with practice.
How To Get Better At Accepting Help
Learning to accept help starts with unlearning the beliefs that are stopping you from asking for help in the first place.
- False Belief #1: Accepting help is a sign of weakness.
- Reality: Asking for help has no bearing on your strengths and abilities. Even the strongest people need help sometimes. No one can do everything alone.
- False Belief #2: I feel guilty asking for help because I’m being a burden.
- Reality: Think about the last time a friend asked you for a favor. You probably were more than happy to do it for them. It may have even made you feel good about yourself. Remember that accepting help is often a mutually beneficial act. You shouldn’t feel guilty asking for help.
- False Belief #3: Asking for help makes you “needy”
- Reality: Helping others and accepting help is a part of what makes us human. It’s also one of our greatest strengths. Think of all the achievements that would not have been possible if not for a team of people – the moon landing, developing vaccines, building skyscrapers, etc.
- False Belief #4: I love being independent. It’s part of who I am.
- Reality: You don’t have to give up your independence to accept help. Being independent doesn’t mean ‘never needing help.’ By that definition, no one is truly independent. A better definition of independence is knowing when you need help and reaching out for it.
What To Do If Someone Doesn’t Accept Help
You can’t force anyone to accept help. However, you can gently remind your friends and family members that you’re there for them. If you have someone in your life that is very resistant to accepting help, try the following approaches:
- Start small – Offer to help out with something simple
- Don’t use the phrase “Do you need help?” – Instead, try saying something like, “Do you want to talk through what you’re going through? Let’s come up with a solution together.”
- Make it clear that you’re on their team – People who struggle asking for help need reminders that they have a support system that cares. Consider saying things like, “I’m here for you if you need me” or “You can count on me.”
Does Accepting Help Make You Vulnerable?
When you ask others for help, you reveal to them your wants and needs, which is vulnerable.
You also give up a certain amount of control when you ask others for help, which can also feel very vulnerable.
Asking for help is a vulnerable act – and that’s not a bad thing!
In fact, when you’re vulnerable, that’s often when you can create the deepest connections with others.
Like we’ve mentioned, it’s human nature to ask for and receive help. Acting as though you never need help means you refuse to let others see who you really are. In many ways, you are isolating yourself and missing out on an opportunity to connect with others.
This behavior keeps you in a glass tower. It keeps you from making real connections with the people closest to you. It’s during times of need that people often come together in the most beautiful of ways. Supporting others and accepting support is an integral part of the human experience.
How To Accept Help At Work
Asking for help in the workplace can feel intimidating. You may not want to ask for help out of fear that you’ll look incompetent or that you can’t handle your workload.
When you feel hesitant to ask for help, remember that your managers and your colleagues want you to succeed.
You all are on the same team, working toward the same goals.
Barring a toxic work environment, most managers would tend to agree that asking for help is not a bad thing. And it is certainly not a reflection upon you.
Asking for help can actually act as a signal to management that they need to hire more people, update their knowledge base, provide better training, or do a better job of delegating work.
Managers who care about their employees know that people should be encouraged to ask for help in the workplace. It boosts collaboration and creates a healthy work environment for all.
Learn To Accept Help Today
It’s not always easy to “unlearn” what you’ve been taught about asking for help and accepting it. If you consistently find yourself wanting help but unable to ask for it, contact us for a free consultation today.