A common hurdle many of my clients have is overcoming the fear of asking for help in order to grow as a person. There seems to be a myth that asking for help is a sign of weakness, when in fact I have seen only strength from those who are able to learn how and when to ask for help. The strength is allowing yourself to express vulnerability to another that you do not have the skills to overcome whatever barrier you have and are in need of some assistance. You in fact will gain many more of your own skills when you learn how to ask for help. There is no limit for your potential if you can accurately assess what you can and cannot do independently and then ask for help when you have reached your limit.
There have been many songs* written about asking for help in times of need, but I feel the original of these was a classic by Bill Withers who really had this idea figured out when writing “Lean on Me”, specifically with this verse:
Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show
The truth is, we all need to “lean on” each other to get further in life. However, there are two extremes to be aware of when discussing the topic of asking for help: Neediness or stubborn independence. To be needy is when you are choosing to let others take care of the things that you are capable of doing yourself, to the point of passing on opportunities for learning skills or making your own progress. Stubborn independence occurs when you know you cannot handle something alone yet choose to continue trying without progress, thus setting you up for disappointment, lower self esteem, negative self talk and possible harm. Both of these extremes can become barriers to your personal growth if continued self awareness is not utilized. But, if you are self aware enough to understand what you can and cannot do on your own then there is little to no risk of becoming needy or stubbornly independent.
Some factors to assess when deciding if you need help or not can include the following: previous accomplishment of similar task; skills you possess to take care of the task; your schedule and timing if the task is more prudent or a crisis; health and safety concerns; opportunity to grow if completing on your own vs. asking for help; your motivation to either ask or not ask for help.
In times of health and safety crises, there is never a time too early to ask for help. Call or go to the nearest place for emergency services to receive help as quickly as possible. A rule of thumb to remember is if an agency is not open or reachable 24/7 it is not an agency equipped for emergency services.
*Support and Asking for Help Playlist
- 1-800-273-8522 by Logic ft. Alessia Cara
- Stand by You by Rachel Platten
- With a Little Help from My Friends by The Beatles
- I’ll be There by Jackson Five
- Umbrella by Rihanna ft. Jay-Z
- I’ll Stand by You by The Pretenders
- Let My Love Open the Door by Luminate
- Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
- One Call Away by Charlie Puth
Joy Walsh is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center. The Lighthouse, located in Schaumburg, IL, was the first emotional wellness center to be established in the Midwest over 15 years ago, serving as a guiding light towards healthy relationships. Our counseling services are provided for couples, families and individuals, to assist them in creating happy, healthy and empowered lives. For more information, check us out at www.LighthouseEmotionalWellness.com, or call us at 847-253-9769.