Why is it so difficult to ask for help!
As you guys are aware, I have just started on my coaching journey. Have had interesting experiences so far. But one thing that has struck me the most is how most of us procrastinate on reaching out for help. Well, some procrastinate while others feel immobilised out of the myriad fears bouncing inside them. Bottom-line, why is it so difficult for us to ask for help?
October is just around the corner and so is Mental Health Day (October 10) and it’s the perfect time to discuss this issue and normalise seeking out someone when we believe we cannot make it on our own. But before that, I have to acknowledge my own challenges of asking for help.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I remember my friend (my counsellor) reaching out to me. She wanted to talk to me, and I remember pushing her away saying I did not need her assistance, According to me, I had done a good job of accepting what had happened to me. ‘I am strong and resilient like my mom’, is what I remember telling her. I’m Fine!
Had she not pushed me enough to just start talking, I wouldn’t be where I am today… writing my blog, initiating my journey into Coaching and so much more.
Now, even when I see some of my coachees, most do not reach out on their own. They want to, of course, but somewhere cannot. So here are some reasons I have seen why people fail to reach out:
- We love to believe we are strong, or that is what the world wants to make of us. If we reach out, then it is an admittance of weakness. We are asked to seek answers inwards and draw strength from within us. Of course that is possible, but most often we need some sort of a torch bearer to guide us. Not all of us have the emotional strength and balance to heal all our sufferings.
- We don’t want to burden someone else with our needs. It’s selfish right? But practicing self-care is honestly not selfish.. it is just that.. self care
- Our past experiences of reaching out haven’t been the best. I remember once reaching out to a school teacher for something I needed help understanding, and she pulled me up for this, in front of the whole class. I was mortified. Nah.. not happening again, I thought!
- What if I reach out and they don’t want to help me? Well, you will never know unless you try. And you know what, most people love to help, in whatever way they can. Try asking for directions in my home city, Mumbai… atleast 2-3 people will stop and give you all sorts of directions.
In my husband’s organisation they had planned fortnightly calls on Well Being. Where the team got together and spoke on key issues. Initially all were quiet,’ but as time progressed people started opening up. The initial ‘Everybody says I’m Fine’ bravado went to ‘Wow.. we all are experiencing similar issues.. and I’m not weird or weak to feel this way.’ There are so many people struggling on so many areas in their life, that it somehow makes you atleast feel less lonely or solely victimised by life.
Similarly, I think life taught me some valuable lessons of accepting help with grace and dignity in the last 2yrs. Without the help of my family, friends, doctors, nurses, peer coaches.. I wouldn’t be able to do all I am doing today. Being vulnerable is a sign of strength and courage, not a display of embarrassment which Brené Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” TED Talk explains very well.
So what has been your experience around asking for help?
September 27, 2021 @ 1:53 pm
You mentioned the school part- that reminded me too of how schools during our wouldn’t appreciate calling out issues. Perhaps has affected our generation. I really hope our kids fare better.
September 27, 2021 @ 11:07 pm
Absolutely! I would sometimes just feel afraid to ask…
September 27, 2021 @ 2:06 pm
So true !!
September 27, 2021 @ 11:07 pm
Thanks esh! 😊
October 14, 2021 @ 4:29 pm
I completely resonate with your thoughts here Snehal .. we want to create an image that we are strong and we don’t need support.. it’s time we move beyond this belief…
Also I think parents, teachers and bosses should normalise asking for support..
October 15, 2021 @ 5:38 am
Absolutely. While the intention behind what they might have done might have been positive, it clearly leads to some u desirable outcomes.
September 29, 2021 @ 5:41 pm
Important point you’ve raised here, Snehal!
Adding to all the comments on this post so far, it’s indeed a pity that schools have not been successful in making students feel psychologically safe. We speak of it so often in the workplace.. I wonder if it’s a tad bit late. I’ve had similar experiences in school.
Personally, I’m comfortable asking for help. Strangely though, I’ve had all kinds of reactions/responses 😊
September 30, 2021 @ 8:04 am
Its so sad right? And the people do not even realise the kind of long term impact they created. I believe now its changing where people are more aware of what they say and its reflection on kids.
September 30, 2021 @ 1:29 pm
So true! It took me ages to be able
To admit I needed help and to reach out to someone. And today I say it was the best thing I could do for me ! Good going on you too with your coaching and making a difference!
October 1, 2021 @ 6:11 am
Completely understand. And while we are cancer warriors.. even the strongest need a hug and a shoulder sometimes! ❤️
Thank u for ur love..always! I hope in my small way am able to make a difference in someone’s life.