How To Ask For Help In A Way That Feels Good
As humans, we often love to help others because it promotes those “feel good” feelings. In this article, I’m going to walk through how to ask for help in a way that feels good. Address why it is so freaking hard to ask for help in the first place and a few common mistakes people make when asking for help.
You have probably noticed that we humans like to be connected with others, and seek a sense of belonging. However, as a race, we have never individually got ahead on our own, instead, we call on support to make dreams a reality. Support is crucial for life success and that is why asking for help is so important because “teamwork makes the dream work”.
When we fly solo we are often running in survival mode (flight or fight) because we are carrying the load on our shoulders only. As a mum, I could not think of anything worse than having to do #mumlife without any support. There are simple ways that I have sought out support to help me be a better human for my kids by lightening my load. From cleaning, laundry, school drop-offs to babysitting. That is just in my family life.
Humans love to help, it makes us feel good, it’s not about ego it’s about generosity and strengthening bonds. We all want to be seen as useful as it gives us a sense of purpose.
Asking for help can often be the scariest thing we do because we feel our sense of ability weaken. And usually, it takes just one moment for us to realise that we can’t do it all alone.
In order to create your dream life, you need to be supported. No matter if it is getting help for your mental health, in your home, at your work, in your business, with family, money or even food.
There is an abundance of support for each of us. There is only one you and there are billions of people on this planet that could be who you need, the right people on your team.
So, why is it so hard to ask for help?
Most of us are hardwired to be independent and do things for ourselves because we don’t want to come across as weak. Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, asking for help was a sign that someone couldn’t do something and therefore labeled, named and shamed, made to feel guilty for not accomplishing things.
When in fact we all want to succeed, but we don’t know everything so we need to learn, right. In order to learn we need to be shown and for that to happen we need to ask.
One might feel rather uncomfortable or weak at the thought of surrendering to the fact that they don’t know or can’t do something. Feelings of guilt, shame or fear pop in to keep them on their solo mission of survival instead of thriving amongst their core group.
People pleasing is another big factor as to why it is so hard to ask for help, we don’t want to be seen in a different light. We want to be seen as if we are in control and have got it all together aka not weak.
To let go of control is to ask for help. To trust another person.
These are big statements. I get that. We like to keep our discomfort to ourselves but you don’t have to carry it alone. We are human, we want to connect with others.
What to STOP doing when asking for help?
ASSUMING THE OTHER PERSON CAN’T HELP YOU
This is all too common and usually fueled by empathy it stops us even from asking in the first place. Perhaps you want to ask for help however the person you want to ask is having a hard time or is always so busy you feel that they won’t have time for you. Heartstrings are pulled all over the place. So inevitable you hold back and you don’t ask for what you need. It’s really important that when asking for help that you are conscious of your needs and how you are feeling and that you don’t need to take on other’s loads that is on them to regulate. You are on your own journey to rewire your ability to ask.
APOLOGISING & JUSTIFYING
It’s happened to all of us, I’m so sorry to ask you this but I just need… And perhaps the person goes on to justify why they are sorry further after asking for what it is they need. Asking for something should not come with an apology, it’s almost like you are not giving the other person a choice and hope that they buy into the story instead of being honest. It’s almost as if you are saying hey, I have no choice instead of doing it because you want to.
I often see this pattern with those that feel the need to control a situation. It’s okay that you want to share the experience of where you are at but be clear with others so they understand the situation without having to apologise for it. Take ownership of the situation and ask for help because you need it instead of all I’ve got left is “have to”.
CONVINCING PEOPLE IT’S FUN!
Hey, do you want to come over and help me paint my house this weekend? It will be loads of fun? Hmmmm. Well, yes some people would love to hang out and paint on their weekend, or even claim it as a weekend girls bonding session with an added bottle of bubbles. However, masking what you are truly asking doesn’t paint a clear picture of what you are really trying to say.
Not everyone will want to help you and to convince them that a task or job will be fun, is misleading. They need to let them decide for themselves about how they are going to feel about the thing you are asking of them. You can’t assume they will love it. You also can’t control the situation to work in your favoure.
PLAY DOWN WHAT YOU ARE ASKING
This can go down in two ways – 1 – you make out that what you are asking is not very significant by explaining how it’s not that big of a deal for the other person to take it on. 2 – you play down the question and leave the open door for the other person to easily say no because you eventually talk yourself and the other person out of what you would like help with.
Let me remind you, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to be helped. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you have failed. Instead, it shows courage and that you know what you want.
DON’T PLAY DOWN WANTING SOMETHING, YOU DESERVE.
Don’t fall into victim mode and leave yourself out in the open so people can easily turn you down.
Don’t make out your tiny task won’t impact other’s lives because you feel it’s not that big of a deal – it might not be for you – whereas it could be for them. Especially when time, money & productivity are in question.
NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING
Read it again, nobody owes you anything. Just because you have helped others in the past, and of your own free will doesn’t mean that they owe you the same in return. Being generous or helping should come from a place of wanting to help not doing it because you want to gain something from it. Reminding someone that they owe you, only weakens the relationship.
When you use this form of asking it limits the connection with others because you will come across as the person who only does things in order to get something in return. People won’t see you as willing to help they will know that if they ask you that there are strings attached and that later you will call on that “favour” to get ahead.
How to ask for (& get) help
It’s really important that you ask for help in a way that feels good to you but also avoids making the other person feel controlled or manipulated and that they can create their own response to wanting to help you naturally.
CLARIFY WHAT IT IS YOU NEED
Before you even get to the task of asking, it’s important to look at what exactly it is you need help with. We often complain about mundane tasks, feel ashamed to share our feelings or struggle with stress and the endless to-do list. Get clear on what you really need help with. What would help you in this moment to make your life easier?
KNOW THE OUTCOME YOU WANT
If you know what you want to ask, I want you to identify what is the outcome you would like to see happen is. What is the result you would like to see take place? It might be as simple as receiving a hug and a shoulder to cry on, having an hour to yourself or taking a day off from work so you can go to an appointment.
BUILD A SUPPORT NETWORK
Having an inner-circle of support that always has your back will make the process of asking a whole lot easier. These are the five people that you trust wholeheartedly. And if you feel you don’t have that connection with five people, I strongly recommend that you get out there and start meeting more like-minded souls like yourself. However, most of us already have a mix of family and friends who hold us in our day-to-day lives. You are helping them yet perhaps you’re still holding on to the grip of control of what happens to you. Build your circle with people you love and trust and refine it until it resembles a cheer squad that believes in everything you do.
DECIDE WHO IS THE BEST PERSON TO ASK
This is really important when asking for help that you send your energy to someone who can actually help you. And if you don’t have the answers for that exact person, say you are looking for a professional but don’t know of anyone then ask! Ask for recommendations, I do this for everything from hairdressers to Psychologists. If it is a friend or family member weigh them up to see if they are the right person for the tasks, if not who would that person be? Usually, your Inner Circle has the answers from recommendations to themselves offering support.
ASK FOR HELP
It’s come time to ask. You know what it is you want, you know how to ask specifically without tieing up emotions for yourself and the other person, Breathe in, believe in yourself and ask for help. Surrender yourself from the need to control. You are safe, you are loved and you deserve to be helped.
Courage is all you need here and if you pull off your delivery you won’t have to wait long for a response. But do make sure you allow the other person to respond to you before changing the subject and sabotaging your mission.
Bonus points for those that ask in-person, or over the phone instead of a text message or email.
SHARE THE RESULTS
This one for me is to strengthen the bond between you and the person who you asked for help. Show them what happened thanks to them, acknowledge their contribution or say thank you. We don’t create our success on our own we do it thanks to those that support us. Take them on the adventure with you. Celebrate your wins you deserve it.
Asking for help can be a big deal for many people and it’s shouldn’t be. We need to rewire the guilt, shame and fear around letting our guard down. Be able to ask for what we want without the patterns of trauma that have us wanting to control or manipulate.
I hope this helps you to go after more of what you want. Let me know in the comments if this resonated x