Asking for Help

I don’t know about you, but this is one of the most difficult and vulnerable things that occurs in my life.

I was re-watching a Brene Brown video today and she mentioned that when she first asked people what made them feel vulnerable, one of the things was “asking for help.” That resonates so strongly with me.

Recently I acquired a new place to live when I am in one city (I travel back and forth between two states.. it’s a transient lifestyle, but it has some great advantages).. and I had things to do and I wanted to make it as efficient as possible. BUT I also wanted to make it as easy as possible for me and anyone else that had to come along the journey.

The Building Manager – who had to put the lift curtains up and take them down.
The Delivery Drivers – who were delivering furniture and appliances.
My Ex-Housemates – who were dropping off my bed and bedside table.
Me – so when I moved out of the place I was housesitting I could walk in and not have to do too much, that it was ready to go.

I was grateful that there were two extraordinary women in my life who offered to help, one who even wanted to take a day off work to help because she knew I wouldn’t ask.

Asking for help is a big journey. It is scary. I have learnt how to organise my life in such a way that I don’t feel like I have to intrude on other peoples lives, especially when I know they have lives and even more-so when I know they are busy. My thinking is, why bother a busy person to do something that if I am organised enough I wouldn’t need to ask? That’s my logic.

What happens when I think of having to ask for help?

My heart races and I freeze. My mind goes through cycles of overthinking to nothing, the pressure is intense. Asking someone for help is hugely vulnerable. Saying “I need help” is vulnerable. It’s an opportunity for the other party to decline helping and that in itself can feel like a massive rejection. Yes that’s how it can feel. Even when logically I know that the other party isn’t rejecting me, but rather cannot do it because of their busy life, it can feel like a heartbreaking rejection, so I avoid asking, unless I really have to.

Don’t get me wrong I have learnt to ask, but it is still a huge growing journey for me. I find it easier to ask for help to sort through emotional challenges than I do the physical and practical stuff. When my internal systems are crashing, then I know I really really need help. BUT when it comes to being organised and setting up an apartment, it just doesn’t feel like something that should matter that much, even though it does.

I processed through some thinking while pondering in my “thought space”, the toilet yesterday. I came back and shared that this is where my mind had gone with a friend I was chatting with via Facebook Messenger:

1. Asking for what one needs, how do we really do that?
2. What do the people who do that often, know what the rest of us don’t?
3. Why is it so annoying that they are always asking and getting?

Don’t get me wrong, I know a mixture of people in my world, some who prefer not to ask and avoid it where possible. Some who will never ask, even if they are dying under the weight of their world. Some who ask an average amount. Some who are constantly asking others to help them.

What is healthy and what is normal? I guess that is subject to opinion and depends on the culture that we live in as well. I imagine those olden day communities where multiple generations lived under one roof, it was normal for them to be doing everything with and for each other all the time.
Nowadays many people live alone, separated from their families, or have no families and have had to learn to do whatever they can for themselves.

1. Asking for what we need, how do we really do that?
Oh boy this one has my stomach twisting as I type, I struggle with asking for help, unless my world is turning upside down. We all need safe people in our worlds who know empathy, who know compassion and who we can talk to without the fear of being put into a box. We need people who can see us, even through the struggle.
Last year i began a journey of stepping up in emotionally asking for what I need. This was huge and it was scary and it was something I did with a coach, because the idea of showing I had weakness scared me to death. From the simple of hey can you pick this up from the supermarket aka grocery store, to I need a hug, to can we talk.. I would be shaking on the inside. For each of us this is a different journey. For some even just asking for the groceries would be a hurdle too hard to bear, but for those of you like that, I want to encourage you to not give up. Ask for the milk or the bread. Keep it simple. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and do things one step at a time.

2. What do people who ask for help often know that the rest of us don’t?
Now that is a question I’d like to know the answer to. I can look at someone I know who I see as the most comfortable at asking for help and can only assume from my perspective that this person has a confidence about it that is rare. Can we grow in more confidence in asking for help? I believe so, yes. Does it take time, it can.

3. Why is it so annoying that they are always asking and getting?
Now that is a question for my heart. Is it a fear of comparison, of not being good enough, of rejection, of being unworthy, of not being loved. Is that what is kindled in those moments of seeing others ask and ask and ask and get and get and get to the point it can be crushing as it feels like there are worlds apart, the world of trying to be responsible and organised vs a world of either being less so, or being so confident that their organisation can be by utilising other people more often? I don’t know.

Asking for help. Yes, to whomever that person was that responded to Brene, is a massive massive massive area of vulnerability. I think so often as human beings we can also be afraid of becoming that “needy” friend and who wants to be that “needy” friend in peoples lives. We want to be the one that gives and is generous, but never be the one that constantly needs.

I cried yesterday when someone challenged me as to why I wasn’t more assertive in asking for help for the moving into the apartment, my response.. shame.. there is shame that I would have needs and need help…..

Oh that balance, wherever it may be.. I am on a journey to find thee!

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