Needing help is not a sign of weakness

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Stop perceiving me please. Danie Franco via Unsplash

Admitting that you need help is hard, accepting it is harder

When things are hard, we’re always told that we need to talk to those that we’re close to. Lean on the support group around you as they are what will you get you through the hard times. Nobody ever talks about how hard it can be to lean on those people to begin with, though.

As we take a moment to pause and think about those in our lives that we can depend on, we can recognize that this may look very different for each of us. We may choose to lean on our family, close friends, a significant other, or a combination of people in different roles. Sadly, the leaning is the easy part even if it might not always feel that way.

It is easier to complain about the things that are going wrong in our lives and to have a friendly face to scream into the void about the endless injustices in our world with. But what do we do when that person decides this is something that they can help do something about? That is not something that happens as often as the mutual complaining and can be extremely hard to interact with, especially if it is something that we are not prepared to be offered or don’t know how to accept.

Now this help may present itself in a variety of ways. It may be an offer to drive you somewhere, to loan or just simply give you money to help you through a difficult financial spot or maybe looking into resources and contacts on your behalf. It always appears like the help that is offered in times of crisis and need is always so much harder to accept than the help offered when we are in a more stable, neutral state.

Why is it harder for us to accept help and assistance when we’re in times of crisis and turmoil? That is arguably the time in our lives that we need this help the most, so why can’t we just accept the nice actions of those around?

In my experience, the things that are being offered during these harder times always seem like they are “high stakes” offers compared to the things that are being suggested during other more stable times. It is much easier to accept a $2 coffee because you forgot your wallet than it is to accept a $100 grocery bill being paid for you because your hours were cut at work. Even though the groceries are the thing that you really need to have to be functional and nourished for the week, it is so much harder to accept that larger offering of assistance.

It’s not just the quantity or significance of the help that can make it hard for us to accept this, it is also the timing in which it is being offered. During these times of trial, we are often our own biggest critic. Accepting that others can provide you with the things that you are unable to provide for yourself can be a hit to the ego that many of us are not prepared for when in these situations. It is hard to not feel looked down upon when you are unable to provide for yourself in a way that is needed, meanwhile others are able to offer that like it is nothing.

When we look at situations where help is being provided, we oftentimes look at it from the perspective of the person who is providing the assistance. The time, energy, or resources that they are using and how good of a person they are because they are providing solutions and assistance to these problems.

We can’t forget to peer over at the person who is receiving the help and take into consideration their thoughts and feelings. It is easy to feel as though we are not worthy of help, and although it is harder in the long run, it oftentimes appears to be easier to try and get through whatever hardships we’re faced with on our own. The acceptance of help comes with the social expectation that you will be able to provide something in return once you have regained your footing, or that you will somehow pass along that gesture to someone else. That amount of pressure alone to undertake that social expectation by accepting assistance yourself can be enough to push people away from it.

Admitting that you need help is never an easy thing, accepting that help and everything that it comes with can be an even greater challenge. As much as we want to grab the world by the horns and take it by storm every day, that is not always in the cards. Even the mighty fall, and sometimes you need someone else to dust you off and straighten your crown before you continue to rise.

Accepting help and admitting defeat are not interchangeable ideas like we often believe. By accepting the generosity and sincerity of those around you, you allow yourself to be placed in a better situation to not only improve your own life but to improve the lives of those around you in return. We cannot pour out of an empty or broken glass; let others glue you together and fill you back up before sending you back out into the world to continue on with your regular day-to-day.

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