Contrary to popular belief, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. Here's why.
We often want to appear strong and capable — able to do it all. We want to be full-time, career-focused individuals who also are full-time stay-at-home moms and have a homemade dinner on the table every night. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to project the perfect outer image of family, career, fitness regime, and, and, and. The list goes on. Contrary to our own ideas, asking for help can help us better achieve our goals and make us stronger. Below are three myths that stop us from asking for help and get us stuck in a rut of overwhelm and burnout.
You might tell yourself that you can do it. You can carry the weight even though you know it’s too heavy. This will lead to physical and mental fatigue, anxiety, and burnout. Yes, you can carry the too-heavy weight across the finish line. But does that mean that you should? Is it worth the pain that you will feel along the way? Is it worth the collapse that you know will come? It might hurt your pride at first, but asking someone to come alongside you will give you a leg up on the competition. There’s no need to collapse after you finish your day because you have a capable friend, coworker, or family member who can help spread the weight. Maybe it’s just asking someone to help you get dinner on the table, take out the trash, or tidy up the house. These little tasks can become overwhelming when added to the never-ending to-dos of your day.
Would it be crazy to believe that strong people are the ones who more often ask for help? Accepting your limits and understanding yourself enough to know that you cannot do it all on your own are indicators of growth and strength. It also helps to have an extra set of ears and eyes on your project or predicament. Another person might see something that you did not. This is a good thing! Another person might also be able to help validate that you have too much on your plate. Simply knowing that you are not alone rebuilds your confidence and combats fatigue better than anything else. Having someone listen and share the overwhelm, fear, or anxiety that you feel will help you process through these emotions, better understand them, and learn how to move forward.
“No one wants to hear my problems. Everyone has their own problems. I can face this on my own. I can pull myself up by the bootstraps and get it done.” This is a lie. Yes, everyone does have their problems. But talking to someone about yours and listening as they open up about theirs breathes life into your negative self-talk.
Do keep in mind that not everyone is a good helper. Some people are actually horrible helpers. Think through your family, friends, and coworkers. Cross out anyone who often cuts you off while talking, turns the conversation to him or herself, or makes you feel bad for asking. Think of the people who like to sit down with you and make you feel as though what you are saying is important. Because it is. Good listeners can be the best advice givers.
If you do not know anyone in your life who meets these qualifications, that’s okay. You are not alone in this either. Society has become a horrible listener and a great projector of what you should be and do. Instead of settling for a sub-par helper, seek out a licensed therapist or counselor. Again, it is not weak to ask a professional for help. It just shows that you have come to the place where you are ready to healthily process your circumstances and move forward.