How to Accept Help (Even If It Feels Awkward)

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Asking for or accepting help can bring up a wide range of complex emotions. There is a fear of being seen as needy or weak; the nervousness associated with showing vulnerability; or anxiety that asking for help means you are entitled. But as difficult as it may be to accept help from others, giving and taking is a necessary part of life.

“We all need help,” said Dan Newhart, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “We need other people.”

Ignoring needs can make it difficult to ask for help

For many people, the difficulty with asking for or receiving help dates back to childhood. as a clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone Turns out, these feelings often develop from not paying attention to our requests at a young age. “If you take that approach, which is to quantify over your needs and wants, it can be really hard to stay in touch with them,” Firestone said.

Sometimes these inadvertent requests are the product of neglect or being a parent who is too overwhelmed to notice. They may be working multiple jobs to make ends meet or may not have additional family support for themselves; Whatever the reason, when your needs go unaddressed, it can foster an extreme sense of independence as well as create a feeling of shame about asking for or receiving help.

As Neuhart points out, sometimes we grow up in situations where helping is attached, which can create a reluctance for people to accept it.

how to get better at accepting help

One way to get better at accepting help is to start small with low-stakes requests, like asking for directions. “Make it a habit,” Firestone said. “start small.” Practicing it in gentler settings can ease some of the overwhelmed feelings.

Newharth also recommends listening to your internal reactions to offering help to someone. He said, “Listen and see if some automatic reaction occurs.” “Do you welcome it, do you feel uncomfortable, do you automatically say no?” If your reflection is to say, “No, I can handle it,” or to feel extremely uncomfortable, wait a while moments Allow these feelings to settle before accepting or declining help.

love helping others

Although asking for help is difficult, one way to make it a little easier is to focus on how you feel when you help others, and remember that the same applies when others are helping you. . “Asking for help can feel like a burden when it’s a gift to another person, so that they can be generous to you,” Firestone said. “Generosity feels good. We know it from doing it ourselves, but we don’t apply it to the people doing it for us.

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