What’s in a Word…*help*?

“HELP ME” I think must be one of the hardest sentences to use, “help” is not just a word but a motion, asking someone for assistance must be one of the hardest things to ask for in this world, especially when you have asked for so long and it becomes hard eventually because you just don’t want to keep doing it. I also think independence and the loss of it has quite a lot to do with it and then something happens which makes that little bit or huge amount of independence go out the window.

What’s prompted this blog is my fear of asking for help and the question, “why am I afraid of asking for help, what is it that makes it so hard?” So, I started doing my own research and searching within myself for the answers and I think there are two sides to it, two of which are pretty much a standard answer of “I am afraid of looking weak” and “I am afraid of looking needy”, these are pretty standard reasons but there are also individual reasons, reasons that could stem back as far as our childhood. Who likes to look or even feel needy anyway? Put your hand up. My guess is probably a really small percentage. It is one of the worst feelings to feel that you’re being portrayed as needy, whether people think it or if you feel you are portraying yourself as such.

I have been faced with situations many times within the last decade, more than I care to even admit where I have needed help but I have been too afraid to ask, from both friends and family; particularly the friends that have helped me often, it is probably mixed with the standard answers above but I also don’t like to feel like I am being a burden and another feeling I absolutely loath, which I feel derives from feeling as though you are a burden is the discomfort that’s brought if you do ask for help. Do you know this feeling? I do, all too well as I am slowly, very slowly getting used to the idea of asking for help. What I think makes it worse is if you ask someone for help and they give it but throughout that time they go about things in such a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and almost ram the fact that they have helped you down your throat or I think what makes it equally hard is if you politely reject someones help and you don’t particularly go on about about whats up but you still get the fact that help was offered but you snuffed it thrown in your face – these are sadly the kind of people that make everything worse. Those are the kind of actions that have a long lasting impact on the ability, or in this case, the inability to ask for help and in the long run also damages trust in people all together. But within all this I think the main thing, in my opinion and from my personal experience is the fear of rejection, of what??? Rejection – For me it is that feeling when you know you need help, you want help but I tend to often forget the old slogan of “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” and so I opt to go without because of not wanting to put other people, or myself out. It has got to the extreme once where I even made myself go without a roof over my head for fear of asking for help.

The idea of asking for help is something that I am getting used to, its taking a while but I am getting there. But every now and then something happens where I will take two steps back from the one step I have gained.

If you have been following my blog for some time now you will have seen the piece, My First Impressions of Melbourne, Derbyshire and whilst I was up there I became acquainted with a guy who I mentioned to that I was going to write this piece, as he said – this is a piece that could open a whole can of worms. There are however a few websites covering this topic and so it doesn’t really open a whole can of worms – it is just a problem with general society these days and that is because the majority of communities with the way the world has changed have become divided and they go about their own business. With how fast paced the “rat-race” has become we all seem to have forgotten about each other.

I have compiled a list below of articles that have interested me that lead to this question:

  1. Why is it So Hard to Ask for Help by Good Therapy
  2. 8 Reasons Introverts Might Find it Hard Asking for Help by Andy Mort
  3. Why is Asking for Help so Difficult by The New York Times
  4. Why Asking for Help is a Hard Thing to Do by Psychology Today
  5. Why It’s Hard to Ask for Help by the Huffington Post

Being a bit of an introvert (which I truly believe is purely circumstantial and hope it is) and although the majority of points in the second article have definitely hit the nail on the head. For me the second point has hit me the most and have had lines like the one in the first point been thrown at me in the distant past and it has become a line I throw out about myself, often, especially if I am hurting about or angry at something, that is ‘its life’, even though deeply I know it isn’t life, life should be enjoyed, even loved. But these lines being “get over it” and “Its just life I’m afraid”. But hey, guess what? If you happen to be one of those sad people who use that line or both of them, it isn’t just life ‘I’m afraid’. Leading to the second point of the article which is my main issue – though points two, four, five, six, seven and eight are all pertinent to me and therefore I am sure many throughout the world will have the same issue and although no two people can be exactly the same I am sure thousands-upon-thousands will have similarities in the above experiences.

So, what do we do? I don’t know – one minute I think I may have the answer when I manage to take a step forward, then when something goes wrong and I take two steps back that answer then in my mind becomes irrelevant.

And although we may live in a world that has become hugely self-sufficient and self-absorbed I think that communities and society needs to work closer together for those in need of help, for those who find it difficult to ask for help.

In my opinion the fear of asking for help also stems from our pasts and may be why we like to help others but why we find it difficult to ask for help, and sometimes difficult to even accept it when offered.

Its an interesting topic which could be delved into by thousands of psychologists and councillors and although there can be answers found I am sure there will always be underlying issues that will never be spoken about, or fully answered.

It is something interesting that could be studied and researched in-depth and one of those thousands of questions in the world that we will never know the answer to, maybe only a fraction of an answer. But surely a small understanding of why it is that way is better than no understanding at all.

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Guy Taylor

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