When life becomes too burdensome, when home and work responsibilities become too much, and when you feel as though you have the weight of the world on your shoulders; what do you do? Maybe you ask your spouse or family members to help you with the laundry or the cooking, or you ask your boss or coworkers for a hand when the pile in your inbox begins to overflow and spill over the sides. You ask for help because you realize that no one can do everything on their own. You ask for help because you accept that you need it and you are willing to take it.
I wish it were as easy as that for me.
Asking someone for help when I need it is one of the hardest things I have to deal with in my adult life. I can think of a thousand other things I would rather endure than to pick up the phone and ask someone I know for a helping hand. In my head, no problem is too big or too small for me to handle on my own and if I’ve made it this far in my life without anyone to lean on, then why start asking people for help with any problem I have now?
The easy explanation for why I have such a difficult time asking for help is that I let my pride get in the way of my common sense. If I’m having a financial, parenting, or relationship problem, the last thing that I want is for other people to know about it. I don’t want an outsider knowing anything about my household or any of the problems I may be having in it. If there is a problem in my house, then I will fix the problem and no one else needs to be involved in any way.
Pride is the easy explanation. The more difficult, harder to face explanation is that I can’t ask people for help because I don’t feel like I can count on anyone in my life to help me when I truly need it. I expect people to abandon me or ignore me when things get hard and the last thing I expect out of anyone is to step up and be there for me in my time of need. I spent most of my adult life deathly afraid to ask anyone for anything because I was afraid that they would walk out on me and I was afraid to lose someone I cared about because I needed their help.
How can I expect people to help me in my adult life when I spent my childhood experiencing one person after another letting me down and leaving me in my abusive situation? How can I expect anyone to lend me a helping hand as an adult when I begged for help as a child and was ignored time and time again? I spent my childhood watching adults ignore my situation and refuse to step in, which made me learn quickly that if I needed help, I would have to figure it out myself.
If adults wouldn’t help me back then, how in the world can I expect them to help me now?
It’s physically and mentally exhausting trying to do everything by yourself and trying to be everything to everyone without any help whatsoever. It’s heartbreaking to go through life believing that no one cares about you enough to lend you a helping hand if you need it. And it’s silly to actually believe that you can go through your entire life without ever getting help from anyone.
There have been a few times in my adult life where I truly needed someone’s help. A few times where a problem has arisen that was just too big for me to handle on my own and it was absolutely necessary to have someone else step in and lend me a helping hand. Asking for help was one of the hardest things I had to do, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t have made it without it. I had to take that risk, learn to trust, and hope for the best when I asked for help when I needed it. I had to realize that once in a while, it’s OK to appear vulnerable and show people that you are as human as they are. No one is perfect and everyone needs help once in a while.
It’s one thing to be prideful and not want to involve people in your problems; it’s another to go through life scared to trust anyone to help you. It’s a fear in your head that you are carrying over from a past experience or a past relationship; a fear that is crippling you in forming meaningful relationships as an adult. Everyone has problems that they need help with and everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. Just because you ask for help doesn’t mean you are weak and helpless, it means that you are human.
And trust me; there are more people out there willing to help you than you think. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it and don’t be afraid to show people your human side. Life and people aren’t as cruel as we were made to believe from our past.