I’m Unable To Ask For Or Accept Help, But Why?

Last updated by Lauren Hart

For a long time, I didn’t know how to ask for help or simply accept it. “No, don’t worry, I’ll be fine”, I used to say when people close to me offered me their support, even though I wasn’t doing well at all. In fact, it took me a long time to get psychological support, because I was convinced that I could cope on my own. What’s behind this behavior? Why can’t you ask for help? With hindsight, I’ve understood what was behind it, and I think that talking about it might help! Here are some explanations.

I’m Unable To Ask For Or Accept Help, But Why?

A rule we learn

“Help yourself and heaven will help you.” Jean de la Fontaine

Even though I don’t come from a particularly religious family, I’ve often heard this phrase, particularly from my grandmother. I bet I’m not the only one who heard this kind of thing at home 😅. Our upbringing is often one of the reasons why we’re ashamed to ask for help. We’re taught that we have to fend for ourselves, as our society is very individualistic. Our Western society makes us understand that we need to get ahead whatever the cost and not rely on anyone.

However, the result of this way of thinking is that some people feel ashamed, that asking for help is an admission of weakness: “I didn’t have the skills, the money, the courage, etc. to get by”. Others, like me, feel that they’re being a nuisance. In reality, all these thoughts hide deep-seated fears 😥.

👋 You may be interested in this article: How to successfully deal with abandonment issues

A lack of confidence + fears

At least, that’s what I’ve come to understand through my therapy. There are one or more emotional wounds lurking inside us when we refuse help. When we’re afraid of being seen as weak, in reality, we’re afraid of being judged by others, and we have a huge lack of self-confidence 😔.

Personally, I felt more concerned by the feeling of being a nuisance. It’s a bias you have when you can’t say no. Yes, with this behavior, you imagine that others are also unable to say no. So we’re afraid of causing embarrassment and frustration, which can lead to even stronger negative emotions 😡. Obviously, this hides a fear of rejection or even a fear of abandonment, we’re afraid of being annoying and ending up alone.

So, to avoid confronting our fears, we prefer not to ask 💔.

The harmful consequences of this behavior

The problem is that this behavior can trap us in resentment. We’re afraid of provoking it in others, but in the end, we provoke it in ourselves 😅. By trying to fend for ourselves, we convince ourselves that we’re unloved. The lack of communication isolates us, and we end up shutting ourselves away. We end up brooding all day and telling ourselves that because we never get help, we won’t be able to help anyone else. That’s why it’s important to ask for help or to accept when someone offers a helping hand.

I’d also like to point out that it’s important to verbalize your needs and not wait for someone to offer you help spontaneously. In the past, I may have wanted help, and seeing that people didn’t say anything to me, I ended up getting upset. Except that you need to communicate, because nobody can read your mind 🤐!

How to ask for or accept help?

Of course, saying that you need to accept help is all well and good, but it’s not something that can be done at the drop of a hat, especially if our upbringing and cognitive distortions weigh heavily in the balance. It’s therapeutic work that can seem long, but there are a few tips I’ve picked up from my own therapy, and here they are 👇:

Firstly, we need to identify and work on our emotions. Yes, we may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, but it’s important to recognize this because it helps us to accept these uncomfortable feelings better. Then you need to try and work on your thoughts and remember that sooner or later everyone needs help and that’s not a bad thing. Personally, I tell myself very often that I’m delighted to help someone I love, that I feel useful, and that it’s an indirect way of proving that I care about them 🙌.

Finally, by gradually changing our perspective, we can also learn to see help as an opportunity to learn and progress more quickly. So we can replace Jean de la Fontaine’s outdated saying with this simple phrase: together, we’re stronger. It’s much nicer that way, isn’t it 😊?

Editor’s note: A strength rather than a weakness

Asking for help isn’t easy, but it’s important to remember that it’s above all a sign of strength and courage. A psychologist can help you understand what’s going on inside you. We strongly encourage you to make an appointment with a psychologist. It’s an important step towards feeling better. You deserve the help you need.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's playlist


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