Asking for help carries a stigma for the workaholic or perfectionist. We like to believe we are capable of doing everything ourselves. We think it’s a sign of weakness or incompetence to admit we need help, and instead prefer to do it all on our own. We believe we’re being capable and competent when we refuse help from others, but really we are just being weak. It takes great strength and security to admit we need assistance from others and to accept that help when it is offered. There is bravery in that kind of honesty. In our stubbornness, we often refuse to seek guidance unless we are avoiding an answer we already know and which we don’t like. It gives us an out, someone else to blame when we have no choice but to take a course of action we don’t wish to.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Right! Usually when we ask for advice, it is because we are already aware of the answer within us, and we do not want to heed our inner knowing. Let someone else take the rap!
Also, when we ask for advice, there is a part of us just daring anyone to give it. When they do, it takes the pressure off of us, even when we know it will not work and we will secretly reject it.
Asking for help, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. Most women who do too much have great difficulty asking for help. We usually can do it ourselves, whatever ‘it’ is, and are more comfortable doing it ourselves. We can give orders and tell others to do what needs to be done. We can organize and supervise. We have learned many ways of getting help without asking for it and without admitting we need it. Yet, there is something infinitely more honest in asking for help when we need it.”
Honesty is the best policy, and this applies as much to our feelings as it does to any other area of life. When we admit we need help and allow others to provide it for us, we are opening ourselves up. We show that we are imperfect, fallible, and in other words human just like anyone else, and in doing so, we make ourselves vulnerable. This display of vulnerability and humility helps build relationships. It brings us closer to others. It means we don’t have to suffer in silence alone. The burden and struggle we face is not ours alone to bear. We can instead share it with a close friend or family member. How beautiful! Is that not what life is all about? I’m learning more and more that suffering alone in silence is sad and makes things more difficult than they have to be. When we share our sadness and our struggle, they become lighter and easier to bear. The people we share them with help us carry them. They are more easily overcome. Together we triumph, and if not, well, we are still together at least.