Need Help Getting Help
Have you ever hesitated to ask for help, or even struggled with it? You’re not alone, I’ve been there, too, in fact one of you suggested this topic idea. I think a lot of people, girls especially, feel conflicted about asking for help, no matter what the issue is. You don’t understand the math lesson, there’s drama in your friend group, you’re not playing as well in your sport, you’re butting heads with your parents, you feel overwhelmed by responsibilities at home, you’re burdened by peer pressure, you experienced harm from someone, you got involved in some trouble, or your mental health is suffering. Whatever’s going on, whether it seems trivial or severe, it can still be hard to ask for help.
I brainstormed reasons we don’t ask for help, the hurdles that block our path forward. I want to explore these hurdles first so we can identify effective ways to get over them.
Hurdles to Asking for Help
We feel like we should be able to handle it ourselves. We look around and either see people who aren’t struggling with something similar, or they are and seem to be dealing with it fine. We don’t want to appear weak so we try to take it on solo.
We don’t want to burden others. We don’t want to inconvenience anyone else or be needy. We are more concerned we might weigh other people down than we are with already being weighed down ourselves.
We don’t feel like we’ll be heard. Maybe in the past we’ve tried to ask for help but we were told not to worry about it, it’s not a big deal, just get over it and let it go. The issue was trivialized and we felt rejected. Or we believe no one would understand how we feel, so we don’t think asking for help will help.
We worry we won’t be believed. We’ve been or have witnessed others get dismissed when they reached out for help. Some people who haven’t experienced what we have don’t think it’s an issue because they’ve never dealt with it. They may even discredit our integrity or reputation, so as a defense mechanism to preserve ourselves, we don’t speak up.
We feel shame and fear consequences. Perhaps asking for help will reveal some choices we’ve made, which may result in repercussions. Telling the truth may seem like it’ll make things even worse, and it appears easier to keep our struggles hidden, even though it prolongs the issue.
We don’t know how to ask. We aren’t comfortable with being vulnerable. We don’t know where to start. We don’t know who to turn to, or who we can trust. We feel stuck, frozen, like a deer in headlights, not knowing what to do, unsure how to navigate this uncharted territory.
There are likely other reasons we don’t ask for help. But we can’t stay obstructed by them. How do we get over these hurdles? I’ve got a counter response to each of those we just discussed.
How to Handle Hurdles to Asking for Help
You don’t have to go it alone. It’s not possible to “do it all” on your own. Everyone needs some help throughout their life. Asking for help does not make you weak. Instead it shows you are mature, humble, and wanting to improve. Those are all strengths.
People want to help. Most people truly want to help others if they can, and they just first have to know there’s a need. People aren’t mind readers, so don’t assume they don’t care if they haven’t yet offered assistance. Assert yourself and ask for what you need help with. And if they can’t help, find another person to ask.
Seek those who listen and believe you. Even if some people won’t listen or don’t believe you when you ask for help, your experience is still yours and you deserve to be heard and helped. Reach out to trusted people in your life and community if you need.
You are not the problem; the problem is the problem. Shame tells you that you are bad. But you are human and you make mistakes. Sometimes your choices are bad, but that doesn’t make you bad. Remember in Wreck-It-Ralph, Zangief says, “You are bad guy, but this does not mean you’re bad guy …” Asking for help may require owning up to your choices, and truth hurts sometimes. You usually can’t choose our consequences, but the truth can set you free from the mental weight you were carrying.
Please ask for help. The simplest way to do it is to just say, “I need help.” Or try “Can you help me?” Or “There’s a problem and I don’t know what to do.” Or “I need to talk to someone about what’s going on.” Asking for help from friends can be effective for many situations, and other times you will need to seek an adult’s help. Consider turning to your parents, and if you fear they may react, first let them know that asking for help is difficult for you and you really need to feel their support right now. You can also talk to a trusted adult, a teacher, school counselor, therapist, even law enforcement if necessary. There are people who can and want to help you.
Ask For and Offer Help
You can also try to be mindful of those who may need help from you, be willing to talk with them, and offer solutions or suggestions on who could help them further. I think everyone benefits whether you give the help or receive it.
Again, whatever is going on, just please ask for help. There is nothing too silly and nothing too serious. If you need help with something, get it. The problem may not get fixed right away, it may take some time, but asking for help is the first step toward a solution.
How to Ask for Help Poster Printable
To help you remember all of this, I created a “How to Ask for Help” poster for you to print out, personalize, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part.
If you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to hello@EmpowerfulGirls.com .
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