“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”
-Anne Wilson Schaef
Asking for help is a very self-nurturing act.
Unfortunately for many of us asking for help is extremely challenging and creates obstacles to receiving in many different ways in our lives.
Even when we are feeling overwhelmed and the gift of support would make a tremendous difference in our lives, we may still feel uncomfortable actually asking.
Interestingly, most of us love to give to others and help in any way we can. We feel purposeful, empowered, and joyful being able to help someone in need.
So how do we make sense of this inconsistency?
Do we judge others when they need support or do we just judge ourselves? Do we think others are weak or incompetent when they need our assistance or instead do we feel happy and empowered to be able to lend a hand?
I love exploring these beliefs with my clients because we so often find that we hold ourselves to a completely different standard than we do for everyone else. We can easily see how supportive help would be for others, but when thinking about our own needs our beliefs get in the way.
If we want to be able to ask for help, we must transform our beliefs and thoughts that create the obstacles to doing so.
I invite you to try this exercise:
- Without censoring your thoughts, take a few minutes to write down what thoughts arise when you think about asking for help.
- Reflect on your list with self-compassion, and ask yourself if those thoughts are accurate.
- If you find thoughts that are not true, notice if they are feeding limiting beliefs you hold, like strong, independent people don’t ask for help, or I should be able to do it all myself.
- If you find you are hold limiting beliefs that stop you from asking for and receiving help, create an affirmation to replace them.
I love Katerina Mayer’s affirmation, “I am courageous enough to know I can accomplish great things. I am humble enough to know when to ask for help.”
Embracing the self-nurturing practice of asking for help and receiving it when offered will reinforce the value and worth of your needs and expand your support system. Each time you ask for help you will reinforce the new belief that you do not have to do it all yourself in life, and offer others an opportunity to nurture you. Choosing to view the process as a self-nurturing practice will support you in seeing how kind you are being to yourself to ask for help and how loving you are being when you accept it.
Even if the practice is uncomfortable at first, stick with it because eventually asking for help will become a blessing for all involved.
To jump start the process start accepting help when it is offered, even if you have not asked. Reflecting with gratitude on the help we receive will allow us to recognize our interconnectedness with others and how empowering the process of giving and receiving is in the world.
May you embrace the self-nurturing practice of asking for help as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!
Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,
Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker
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