This is the second in a three-part series on SUPPORT.
If you missed Part 1, you can check it out here.
If you missed Part 3, you can check it out here.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had this exact conversation with a few of my closest friends upon finding out one of us has been having a hard time and never said anything.
- Person A: Why didn’t you call me?? I could have come over and helped??
- Person B: I know your life is just as busy, if not more, than mine. I didn’t want to add any more to your plate! Really, I’m ok.
- Person A: It doesn’t matter what I’m going through, at the very least I can be there for you and tell you that you are going to make it!
- Person B: I know! I just feel bad asking.
- Person A: Well, you shouldn’t! You’d want me to call you if I needed help, wouldn’t you?
- Person B: Of course I would! But you don’t call either, so there.
- Person A: Fair call. Why do we keep doing this? We have this same conversation all the time, promising to call if we need help and then we never do it!
- Person B: I know! Let’s just promise to not keep doing this over and over. I love you, girlie, and I’d do anything for you!
Sound familiar…? To anyone…? Why is it that asking for help is so difficult? Why don’t we do it more often? Welcome to:
10 Reasons We Don’t Ask for Help Even When We Need It
1. Superwoman Syndrome– it’s actually a real sociological construct. It’s when we think we should be able to do it all (like, ALL) and we should be able to do it all ON OUR OWN. So one of the main reasons we don’t ask for support is because we believe we shouldn’t need it. (Which is bullshit, BTW.)
2. We’ve been taught that needing help is a sign of a personal shortcoming in ourselves. Somehow society has convinced us that if you can’t do it all (and all on your own) you basically don’t measure up. No one wants to be seen as not being able to keep up. So think of it this way, if I’m worried you’ll think I have this horrible shortcoming of not being able to do everything all by myself, am I going to ask for support? That’s pretty much a Hell No.
3. We feel vulnerable when we admit we need support because we are afraid of what others will think. Will they think I’m weak? Will they think I’m pathetic for needing help? What if they think less of me because my Superwoman cape has got a big ‘ole hole in it? Vulnerability is a scary feeling for almost everyone. So, basically, we avoid asking for help because we hate feeling vulnerable.
4. We don’t want to burden others with our shit and we assume that we, of course, will be a burden. We know our friends have things going on in their lives, too. We know who is having issues with a spouse. We know who is struggling with their kid. We know who is having health issues. So we don’t say anything. We don’t say we need help to them and they don’t ask for support from us. It’s a vicious cycle. But it’s pretty clear we all need it. Which is a nice segue way into #5.
5. We don’t ask for support because no one else does. If we know all our peeps have shit going on and they aren’t asking for help, I shouldn’t need to either. Right…?
6. We like feeling capable and independent and we are afraid that if we actually need help it means we aren’t as capable and independent as we thought. Of course, this isn’t true. One thing does not mean the other. The truth is, we can be extremely capable and still need help. I know. It’s a conundrum.
7. We feel like we should already know the answers. This ties back into our lovely Superwoman Syndrome. We think that somehow we should just already know what to do in any given situation. (I didn’t get that manual. Did you…?)
8. We think asking for help means we failed. Show me where it says, “If you ask for support, you have failed in your life.” I’ll retract #8 is you can find it for real.
9. We might not ask for help because deep down we know we aren’t actually doing anything to help ourselves. Or we may have to admit that it was our own actions that caused the problem in the first place. Enter embarrassment, guilt, and/or shame. It’s hard enough to own up to our mistakes, but to admit them to others and then have to ask for help? (That’s another Hell No.)
10. We are afraid we will reach out and no one will be there—literally and figuratively. Talk about feeling vulnerable. What if no one will help when we finally get the guts up to ask? Or what if we reach out and someone just tells us to buck up or that we don’t really have an issue worthy or support. This is exactly why we don’t like to feel vulnerable– because it puts us at risk of getting hurt. And getting hurt is very close to the top of the list: Things We All Want to Avoid.
There you have it. Ten very real reasons that keep us from asking for help.
But the reality is that we really can’t do this life on our own and we really do need help sometimes.
And I’ll tell you something… While the 10 reasons listed above may feel like good reasons to not ask for help, there are even better reasons why we should 😀
Next week, the 3rd and final installment in this series on support.
I’ll give you a little hint about what to expect… WE NEED IT AND WE ABSOLUTELY SHOULD ASK FOR IT!!!
PS– I thought you might enjoy seeing who THOUGHT she was being very helpful with the writing of this post 😆