Independent vs Weak vs asking for help

Learning that it's okay to ask for help.

Independent: Not requiring or relying on others; not subject to control by others.

Weak: A deficit in physical vigour

Help: To give assistance or support.

I hate asking for help. Absolutely despise it.

Absolute despise saying ‘would you mind giving me a hand’. It’s my worst. I’m always the type to give a helping hand. Always the one to say ‘yeh sure no problem’ at work or at home.

Recently, I had to rethink this.

I had keyhole surgery and physically couldn’t actually do a lot of the things I’m normally used to being able to do. Lifting a handbag? Not really a thing. Let alone lifting a bag of groceries. And don’t even think about being able to stand up and cook a decent meal.

But this whole experience got me thinking. Why do I hate asking for help?

I’m aware that I’m not alone in this. Look at any female lead website, and I can guarantee that there’s at least one other article or blog post along the lines of this one.

We as women are incredibly strong human beings. We’ve kind of had to be right? We’ve been inevitably dealt a really unfair deck of cards by some self-appointed puppet masters and have had to fight to be heard in almost every arena. And we’re still fighting. So, in a way, raising up a hand and saying ‘I need help’ can almost immediately imply a sense of weakness, a fear of being judged.

I've always fit the 'mum' role.

I’m the oldest sibling, the oldest cousin. And it kills me to admit this, but to me, when I ask for help, it almost fly’s in the face of mum ‘strong, independent mum’ role that I proudly fit into. So, with the surgery recovery, where I physically could not be as independent as I normally am, I had to rethink this whole internal dialogue.

Instead, I started to think of asking for help as a strength, not as a weakness. As a strength in identifying the situation and not being afraid to actually pause and be like you know what, I can’t actually do this all on my own. If I do this all on my own it’s going to ‘insert adjective here’. It will relieve a lot of ‘previous adjective or new adjective’ if I ask for help. So that’s what I’m going to do. And you know what- it was a relief. It was a relief to shed the weight that I didn’t even know I was carrying around with me. A relief to let down my guard a little bit, be a bit vulnerable.

It’s not easy to maintain this internally flipped narrative.

It’s something that I’ve got to work on all the time, and one that I actually find easier to maintain at work than I do in my personal life. I’ve always been a team player, but have always fitted into a leader role, taking on more than is strictly necessary. So I’m seeing a strength in asking for help, in saying no to taking on more projects. I’m able to focus better as I’m no longer shifting my focus between a million things.

It’s still a daily thing where I have to remind myself that I can’t take on the weight of the world and look aftar myself as well. But step by step, I’m getting better.

Strength: power to resisting force; a quality or state of being strong.

*All definitions from Meriam-Webster online.


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