Is it easy for you to ask for help and to accept help graciously? If you are like the majority of my clients (highly sensitive, emotional and empathetic women); asking for help can be quite difficult and thought of it might even make you uncomfortable.
Being sensitive and warm-hearted often puts us on a life journey where we learn this totally false but very persistent belief that we have to cope on our own. That we have to rely on ourselves only. That we have to handle all the problems ourselves. Basically, that we ‘are on our own’, in all major areas of life.
Unfortunately, this might be one of the most limiting beliefs ever(!). So often, it keeps us struggling for weeks, months or years even, in solitude and in silence. Whereas if we only chose to look for, ask for and accept help and support, we could move forward, resolve a problem, overcome an issue and … (and your own) and feel much much better within a short period of time.
And what is even more difficult and harmful in the long run is the fact that our insistence on figuring it all out on our own, keeps us tense, overstretched, stuck in chronic stress and survival mode – which negatively impacts our physical health and emotional wellbeing, for much longer than is actually necessary.
I used to be a queen of “I can handle that myself” and I know very well the price you pay for it. I’m sure you know it, too.
Asking for help is a new habit that you can learn and make part of your life
The biggest problem is, that because of our reluctance when asking for help comes from deep, often subconscious beliefs, that we learned really early in life, we often treat it as the ‘ultimate truth’ and never even explore or question why this is such an issue for us to ask for help. We just assume this is a part of who we are, end of the story.
That is never true. Your beliefs are just thoughts you have been repeating so often that they became a part of your everyday narrative. But they can be changed, transformed and replaced with healthier ones, which will make your life much easier and happier (and your relationships much closer).
Let’s explore 3 limiting beliefs that might be keeping you stuck in this lonely place where you can count only on yourself. There are many more, of course, but if you are a sensitive, warm-hearted and empathetic woman, these 3 are probably most relevant to you:
#1 – You don’t want to burden other people with your own problems when asking for help
This comes in a package with being empathetic. Because you are very sensitive to the feelings of other people you tend to imagine their reactions are as strong as your own. As a result, you expect that they will feel as overwhelmed/upset/stressed as you are if you share your problems with them. You might also imagine this might somehow ruin their own happiness, peace or at least their good mood if you admit your struggle and ask for support. You imagine they will worry about you as much as you would about them. Most probably, you also take too much responsibility for how others feel, so you often choose to struggle in silence rather than risk putting anybody else in any kind of distress.
#2 – You never end up asking if you believe you have it easy in comparison to others
As children we were often told to ‘just get over it’, ’‘that’s just life’, ‘pull yourself up’ and a whole lot of other things that teach us how to dismiss and invalidate our feelings and problems. You might have learnt that things you struggle with are not really important enough to ask for support, and you should be well able to cope with them yourself and do not blow things out of proportion.
There is another lesson that, unfortunately, we often learn, quite unconsciously as we go through our sensitive/emotional life journey. We start to notice that our emotions/reactions/sensitivities are ‘too much’ for many people. Being highly sensitive and emotional is seldom met with a lot of understanding. Quite contrary, it’s often met with plenty of negativity, criticism or even ridicule. As a result, we often start to believe there is ‘something wrong’ with the way we feel and react. If this continues for a while we start to distrust our own feelings and are no longer sure which of our reactions are ‘valid’ and which are ‘blown out of proportions’ (This is a deadly trap! – read this to learn how to break free from this vicious circle!)
#3 – You believe asking for help is a sign of weakness
Belief in self-reliance is glorified in our culture. We are all about being independent, self-sufficient, autonomous, self-supporting, self-regulating etc. In reality, and in the light of the newest discoveries in neuroscience, this is not only unhealthy for us but also virtually impossible.
As human beings, we are wired for connection. This need for connection is literally ingrained in how our nervous system is designed. We are shaped and moulded through our interactions with others. We need others, both for everyday functioning and for emotional closeness. We are all interdependent, whether we want it or not. We need close, authentic relationships and we need a community around us if we want to thrive.
But as we move away from this interdependence and start to believe that we need to manage everything ‘on our own’, we also move towards the belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness. As if not being able to cope on your own is a sign of weakness, asking for help means that ‘you’re not good enough’. Can you see how this totally faulty reasoning can keep you isolated and lonely?
Things you need to remember if you want to learn how to ask for help
We are wired for connection and we thrive in connection. We all long to help and support others, this is our natural need. And I’m sure you know this very well when you think about your own desire and willingness to support others.
If someone you love has a problem and needs your support, don’t you want them to share it with you, so that you can be there for them? And I’m sure you aren’t even a tiny bit as dismissive towards them as you often are towards yourself, right? You want to help, you want to be supportive, you want to do your best to ease the suffering of people your love (and often strangers, too). You would never want them to suffer in silence, just because they don’t want to burden you with their problems, because they don’t believe their problems are valid or because they don’t want you to think of them as weak.
What do you think they wouldn’t want the same for you?
Giving and receiving needs to go both ways if you want to build healthy and thriving relationships.
Showing up, in your truth and vulnerability allows relationships to thrive. In truth, it is essential and indispensable if you want to build a deep and authentic connection between yourself and the other person.
And this means, admitting that at times you’re struggling, you are imperfect, you make mistakes and you could do with some help and support!
3 tips to try when learning to ask for help
If you are a sensitive and empathetic person asking for help might feel like an overwhelming task, especially at times when you are already stressed and overstretched (which is exactly when you need help and support most).
You have to tell someone about your problem (which can be a big challenge in itself), you have to explain what you need them to do for you and ask/answer questions- all this might feel like a huge and overwhelming task. And what if they don’t understand it right? What if they start to ask too much? What if they have doubts? What if they say ‘no’? It often feels so much easier to give up, before even trying.
But there is just one thing you need to do to make it much simpler and straightforward (and need feeling like a huge emotional investment).
It is learning HOW to ask for help, so that it’s not so overwhelming for you, not putting too much pressure on others and helps you build your ‘ask for help muscle’ so that it gets stronger and stronger.
These are 3 powerful tips for you to try:
1. Ask as soon as you realise you need help/support. Don’t wait until you are all frustrated, annoyed or angry that you have to do something (or everything!) on your own. If you wait too long, instead of asking, you might end up using guilt, coercion, blackmail, manipulation (or, in fact, all means available to you) to get the other person to do what you want them to do. This never works well. Kindness and calm is much better, easier and emotionally digestible way to go.
2. Stay in your power. Quite often we try to solicit pity and go into ‘poor me’ -that doesn’t help either. Remember you’re not the victim here. No matter what the circumstances, you always have the choice of how you respond and there are always many options available.
3. Be clear. If asking for help does not come easy for you (yet) and you feel quite self-conscious and resistant to do so, you might express yourself in such a confusing way that the other person doest even realize that they’ve been asked for help. You might find it helpful to do a bit of preparation- think in advance about what you are going to say and how you can be as clear as possible.
Learning how to ask for help is just a matter of having the right attitude and a bit of practice. It is totally possible to learn how to do it in a way that doesn’t create emotional overwhelm or drama and instead allows you not only to get support when you need it but also to build stronger and more authentic relationships with others.
And the best way to learn it? The doors to Self-Love Incubator Live Group Programme will be opening soon! This is a brilliant opportunity to stop trying to figure it all out on your own and choose to get all the support you truly need + an amazing community of like-minded women behind your back. You don’t have to do it on your own!
Click below to put your name on the waiting list and I promise this will completely change not only how lonely/connected you feel in your life right now but also how critical/IN LOVE you are with yourself!