Asking for help is not a weakness–yet so many of us believe that it is. Children in the classroom sit silently and struggle through a task, becoming frustrated and upset, because they don’t want to ask the teacher. Kids stay quiet when they are being bullied because they think that speaking out makes them appear weak and will leave them open to even more ridicule. People struggle through their lives, juggling jobs, difficult responsibilities and emotions without ever admitting to another soul that they need a bit of support.
Brene Brown says, if you cannot ask for help, then you are never giving it without judgement.
It took me a little while to process that. I have family members and friends who are the most loving, generous people and would gladly give help, but never ask for it. Surely they are not looking down on everyone who comes to them for support?
Well, not consciously, no. And never in an unkind way. But there is something about that inability to ask for help that is indicative of society’s views about it: we believe, somewhere, that it equates to weakness.
Of course it’s wonderful to persevere and to try to solve our own problems. I teach that every day in school. But sometimes, life is rough, and we just need that little bit of extra guidance. A listening ear from a friend, an understanding hug or that time-consuming project taken off our hands at work.
I think the first step is to understand that admitting you are struggling is not a weakness. In fact, it takes courage to ask for what you need and to admit that you are finding things difficult.
Brene Brown also says that the greatest indicator of your strength is your capacity to be vulnerable.
Don’t stand there, lost and hopeless. Reach out to someone you trust and explain how you are feeling. Even the sharing alone will feel like a weight off of your shoulders.
And then ask for what you need. Calmly, without shame or embarrassment. You are doing your best. You just need a little support right now.
And when that person comes to you, you will be able to give that help gladly, with tenderness and without judgement.