The Powerful Skill of Asking for Help

See also: Humility

There are times in our lives when we feel completely powerless and helpless.

Being in a state of need is not a place where anyone likes to be, but, as stupid as it may be, we often feel too embarrassed, too shy, or too proud, to ask for help.

It could be that you've inherited this trait from your mom and dad, or got used to it after someone laughed at you when you were a kid. But the truth is that many people prefer to remain in a situation that is not good for them, and even feel miserable, rather than ask for help.

But it sounds weird to say that asking for help is a skill, right?

However, like every other skill, when you practice asking for help you become better at it. With a little patience, you'll start to become better at overcoming your embarrassment, shyness, and pride, and better at accepting other people's assistance. As well as improving your current situation, by getting used to asking and receiving help from others, you can also benefit in other ways.

In this article we'll walk you through the key aspects of this skill, explain why it is so powerful and important to master, and the beneficial by-products that you'll gain by practicing it.

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness

Admitting that you are struggling and needing someone's help to move forward is something that only people who are committed to their goals (being happy is also a goal), and care about themselves enough, are willing to do. Only confident people can admit that they need help, only strong people can expose vulnerability in order to improve their situation, even the toughest man alive talks openly about the fact that great force lies in vulnerability. I know, it's easier said than done. Trying to recover from a bad breakup, letting go of painful failure, loss of someone close, or feeling stuck in life, can be extremely hard. 

But you have to realize that by sharing your vulnerability and revealing the parts that you are not proud of in front of other people, you are becoming stronger. You are accepting yourself enough to show the world that you are not perfect. You are showing the real you, not a persona.

And what's the alternative? Continue suffering? Stay stuck at the same place without progressing? You only live once, and every minute you waste feeling ashamed of your problems and not helping yourself to move forward is a minute you're preventing yourself from improving your situation and living a better life. A minute that is lost forever. How many more minutes are you going to let yourself lose?

Or maybe you're not afraid to admit that you are facing difficulties, but you insist on doing everything on your own. Though you might gain strength as you persevere, there's a difference between being persistent or just stubborn. Outside support can only make you stronger, so what do you have to lose?

It's very effective to describe your problem to another person

Getting a problem off your chest and sharing it with someone can be a huge relief. Speaking about your problems out loud can often cause them to shrink drastically, and when you explain your problem to someone else you can gain some clarity on the issue. The dark troubling ambiguous mass of a problem in your head and heart always feels and sounds worse than it actually is. However, when you share a problem you naturally try to articulate it so the other person understands what you're going through, and this processing and articulation can provide a logical framing of your situation. Now it's not a big vague cloud of negativity: it's something tangible that you can tackle, one step at a time.

Problems in your head always sound worse. You need to play a different song, hear a different perspective. Each one of us has a specific set of skills and abilities, and another person's overview can make you look at everything through a completely different prism, showing you new angles and solutions that you may never thought about before.

You don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, you don't have to carry it all on your own. Being alone is hard, and sometimes you feel overwhelmed by everything that you have to face, yet you know that 1 + 1 = 2, so why not? By consulting with someone else you are significantly improving your chances. Don't you want to improve your odds?

Deepening your relationships

Everybody's faces difficulties, and people that care about you want you to feel better. They'll be happy to help you as they want you to succeed and hate to see you suffer. They're on your side, my friend.

When you expose your vulnerability, you're being authentic - something that is rare in our everyday lives. Seeing and feeling something real and natural, this authenticity, will deepen your intimacy with people around you. Sharing a little piece of yourself that no one else has ever seen will make people feel closer to you than before.

And these closer and deeper relationships are a huge force multiplier, a solid base for facing any future challenge, and your support team for life.

The surprising thing is that by showing your vulnerability people will appreciate you a lot more. They'll acknowledge that this exposure is an act of strength and courage, and will even be inspired by that to open up themselves. This is also an act of trust. They will feel special and important because you have chosen them above others to help you, and this trust and intimacy that you've shared with them will make your connection and partnership much more profound and meaningful, something that will stay with you for life.

Awesome side effects

By practicing this exposure of vulnerability and being authentic, you are connecting to your true self, to your cause, to your 'why'. This connection is the secret for perseverance and it will help you to surpass any obstacle that comes your way. If your ‘why’ is strong enough, you can surpass every ‘how’.

When you are being authentic you can spot people who are not, and this gives you great advantage in your personal, work, and business lives. Knowing that someone is not being true enables you to watch your step around them, and maybe even try to connect with them on a deeper level, knowing from your own experience that they probably have something that they'd like to get off their chest. Maybe you can be the one to help!

Your EQ is much higher as you can identify with other people's pain points better. This sensitivity enables you to be a better friend, spouse, lover, parent, family member, a better teammate or manager. This EQ boost can be a huge advantage for your business as you can now understand your customers' real pain points. By really understanding what your customers want and need, you can offer more accurate and focused value which will make them fall in love with you and your company.

You're not afraid of intimacy and honesty, hence you can connect to new people much faster. You're not afraid to expose yourself, hence you have a much thicker skin that enables you to take risks more easily. You can cope with rejection and therefore you can allow yourself to pursue goals that are more ambitious and exciting.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Life

The Skills You Need Guide to Life

This two-part guide is an easy-to-read summary of the essential skills you need for a healthy mind and body.

The first eBook, Looking After Yourself, covers some of our most popular content and will help you to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.

The second eBook, Living Well, Living Ethically, considers how you can live your best life all the time. It helps you to answer the question: how can I avoid having too many regrets about my life?

As with any skill that you're not really good at right now, asking for help may take some time to master. However, as long as you try a little extra every time, without even noticing it your momentum will carry you on. Asking for help is definitely a skill you should master: the rewards are tremendous and it will make you a more complete human being, more of who you are.

About the Author

Vision, Belief, Change inspires people to live the life they want, through opening their minds to new perspectives and possibilities, and providing them with practical tools for achieving their goals and dreams.