Are you good at accepting help? Many of us in today’s highly individualized and independent society would say no. We all might have different reasons for not wanting to accept help, but much of it boils down to our culture. There are only a few moments in life when it is socially acceptable to ask for help. Asking for or accepting help outside of those moments might feel awkward or uncomfortable.
Let’s delve into our reservations about asking for help and learn how you could actually be helping others just as much when you accept their offers of support.
Socially Acceptable Moments to Ask for Help
There are a couple of times in life when it is socially acceptable to ask for help. We even tell people to put everything they need or want on a registry so everyone knows exactly how they can help.
As you might have guessed, these two events are when you get married and when you have a baby.
When You Get Married
Weddings are joyous occasions, celebrating the beginning of a beautiful life together. However, weddings are also expensive. The average wedding in the US costs upwards of $33,000 and the expense often comes at a time in life when you don’t have a lot of extra money.
One or both of you may be struggling to pay off student loans while trying to get your career started. One or both of you may have lived with your parents prior to getting married and now suddenly will need to buy the necessities for your own household.
All your guests pitch in a little here and there and the burden becomes a lot lighter.
When You Have a Baby
Additionally, when you have a baby the need for help is universally understood. Even a normal birth is physically taxing and, if it’s your first one, learning to care for a newborn is exhausting.
Having successive children doesn’t necessarily get easier. Now you’ve got toddlers to take care of while trying to recover from birth and take care of that newborn — all without getting near enough sleep.
Friends and family typically rally around, dropping off meals, taking the kids for an hour or two, or (the ones who really love you), cleaning the bathroom to take that chore off your hands.
It feels good to know you have a tribe that is there for you when you need it.
Accepting Help in Other Moments
But these aren’t the only moments in life when you might need help. The death of a loved one, a failed relationship, moving, a new job, and even accumulated everyday stresses can be overwhelming.
However, asking for help or even accepting help that is offered can feel uncomfortable because it isn’t at one of the socially prescribed moments.
Additionally, some people just have a harder time accepting help than others. There are those who have always been very independent or who think that accepting help is admitting some form of defeat — as if the only way to “succeed" at life is to do it alone.
What holds you back?
You’re strong, you’re independent, you don’t need people to hold your hand. You’ve got this whole life thing figured out and you are rocking it!
But, if you ask for help, or even accept it, people will see the facade. You’re not as strong as you like to appear, you don’t always have the answers.
You feel weak and you don’t want to admit it.
Perhaps you don’t feel worthy of help. Perhaps you don’t want to waste other people’s time or make them feel obligated to do something for you that they don’t want to do. So you don’t ask and regard an offer of help with suspicion, rejecting it just in case.
Everyone Needs Help
To those of you who feel like you have to do everything on your own, hear this. Everyone needs help. “No man is an island." said the poet John Donne nearly 400 years ago — and it was as true then as it is now.
Think about your life up to this point. Is there any way you would be where you are today without the village that has supported you? Even if you feel like you’ve been mostly on your own, you can probably think of several someones who have helped you. A parent, a teacher, a boss, a friend, a partner — your village has offered you many things and opportunities, even if it was just a lesson in what not to do!
Helping Is a Gift
For those of you who feel that you don’t deserve help, hear this.
Helping is a joyous gift and a blessing — not just for you but also for your helper. Think about the last time you helped someone else. Did you enjoy a sense of satisfaction knowing you could offer a hand to a friend in need? Not in a condescending way, but feeling a genuine warmth in your heart for being able to offer a helping hand to a friend.
When you don’t accept help from other people, you are robbing them of that gift. So, don’t be afraid to accept help, even when it feels uncomfortable and you’ll both be better for it.
Ready to Let Your Village Help?
We understand life is difficult. Some moments are overwhelming but even then accepting help can be hard. But hear this, one of the many beautiful gifts of life is that we have people around us who care about us and want to help.
You might be surprised to find out how many people in your network would be delighted to help if you would simply be open to the possibility.
How many times has your village reached out to you with offers of help and you’ve turned them down? Give your village an incredible gift by accepting their offers and you will all grow stronger together. Better yet, see one of our helpful guides on how to create an InKind page that is specific to your situation. Then send it to a close friend or family member so they can set up your InKind page in just five minutes.
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