When it comes to asking for a helping hand, life doesn’t come with a guidebook. You might be cruising along, and then, out of nowhere, a challenge hits hard. It’s a shock, and your first reaction might be fear or doubt. But in these moments, you trek into the unknown and discover something incredible: your hidden strength to ask.
You don’t realize how strong you are until you face a situation where asking for a helping hand is your only option. That’s the thing about curve balls; they force you to dig deep and unlock abilities you never knew you had. It’s like discovering a hidden room in your house filled with tools you never knew you had. So, why are so many of us embarrassed to ask for help? How did we adopt this unhealthy belief?
Picture this: A kid stares at a bowl of fruit on a high shelf. He wants an apple, but can’t reach. Instead of asking for help, he walks away. Empty-handed and still hungry. Sounds like a simple tale, but it hits a nerve. We’ve all been that kid at some point, even as we get older.
A friend’s daughter taught me this lesson in a very real way. She went an entire day without eating because she was too afraid to tell her teacher she forgot her lunch. Fear kept her hungry and too shy to ask for help. But here’s the thing: Fear keeps us all stuck. Hungry for help, for connection, for more kindness.
We tell ourselves, “I got this. I don’t need anyone’s help.” But do we really? Or are we too scared to find out what happens when we show we need help and go beyond programmed and mechanical ways of appropriate behavior?
And there are always a million reasons not to ask for help. Maybe it’s a sign of defeat, or fear of being judged. But in the world that is emerging, we get to create healthy paths without shame or judgement. We also learn who is capable of listening and helping in the way we need.
Many of us equate asking for a helping hand with weakness. This is especially true in areas with stigma, like mental health. But what happens when more of us openly ask for help? Can we overcome societal taboos like always being successful and strong when weathering our storms?
So, it turns out, asking for a helping hand doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. And sometimes, it even makes you stronger to discern what help you need.
The truth is, many of us love helping—it’s even in the research. When asking for a helping hand, we learn about the people who are healthy for our wellbeing. And not everyone is.
In the past year, I’ve learned to keep practicing. I find out who really chooses to show up for me, and not everyone can. Some say they’ll help but are tangled in their own drama or trauma.
So, when you may hesitate to ask for help, remember—it takes guts not just to ask but to set expectations around what you need. It’s part of the untold process: knowing when to ask and when to say no to someone’s shenanigans.
The decision to ask for help is ours alone. No one can make it for us or us for them. Knowing what we need and asking for it is a skill we build over time. It’s our fuel for a journey toward a healthy life.
When we feel stuck, can we reflect on what we need to be healthy in all areas—mind, body, emotions, spirit? What’s missing? What’s harmful? Then, can we ask for what we need? Balance doesn’t magically appear, it takes humility and effort to create and weed our gardens.
Where we’re going, we don’t need heroes. We need to be real with each other. That’s how we build communities that care, love, and support us, especially when we have the courage to ask for what we truly need during this time of transition.