When my husband needs help with something, he simply just asks, “hey, can you help me with this?” He doesn’t stress over it for hours, or break his back trying to do it by himself. He simply just asks and accepts. I have always admired this about him.
My pattern is quite different. When I need help with something, my default tends to go to, “how can I figure out how to do this all by myself so that I don’t bother anyone or become a burden?” I proceed to try a bunch of different things, huff, puff, stress myself out, break my back, and finally I give in and I reluctantly ask for help. Or, I’ll get asked if I need help and I’ll proceed to say, “no, don’t worry, I got it.” Even though I know full well that I don’t got it!
I’m getting better at this, but it is definitely a practice for me, as I’m sure it is for many of you.
Being able to do everything yourself does not mean you have to. Thinking you should be able to manage everything, doesn’t mean you should.
When I was teenager, my guidance counsellor told me, “you either tell your parents about your eating disorder, or I will.” So I went home, told my dads then long-term girlfriend first because I thought that would be the easiest and she said, “you couldn’t have pick the worst time to ask for help.” Talk about a punch in the gut of emotional trauma.
After this gut punch, I stopped asking for help. That moment was just traumatic enough for my brain to developed a limiting belief (to protect me against the emotional trauma) that it was inconvenient, wrong, burdensome, and dirty to say, “I need help; I can’t do this alone.” This is how our brain works. If it thinks you are in trouble, it will go into flight, fight or freeze. Unless we don’t allow it to.
So I did it all alone. I kept everything inside, and for years I never admitted that I didn’t have the answer, or couldn’t do it by myself and I always said, “I don’t want to bother you, I’ll handle it. I got it.”
I just couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t know how to accept help without feeling like I wasn’t good enough, or being a bother. Until one day I had no choice but to reach out and ask for help. It was either I ask for help, or fall even deeper into depression. The response I received was open arms, love and, “why didn’t you come to me sooner? I’ve got you.”
A new program had been planted. Is it possible that asking for help isn’t weak, dirty, inconvenient to the other person, or wrong? YES, it is possible. It is the strongest, most courageous, most freeing thing we can do – once we do it.
But it wasn’t my brains default as I spent so many years not feeling this way. I have had a lot of reprogramming to do to set a new default.
We have to program our brain to think and believe the way we want it to – reprogram it – unlearn – so it can create a new default setting, which is asking for help when we need it, and accepting it when it is offered.
If you are like me, or most women (even men) that I know, accepting help is not something you do easily. Something that I am learning is that being able to do everything myself doesn’t mean I have to. I’m practicing accepting it when it is offered, and asking for it when I need it.
All of the work we do is a practice. So if this is a challenge for you, begin by practicing asking for help with little things. Once that starts to feel comfortable, start accepting help when it is offered to you.
It is okay to say you can’t do it alone.
It is okay to ask for help.
It is okay to not have the answers.
It is okay to not have the time to take on EVERYTHING, for EVERYONE, or to even not want to.
It is okay if the problem feels bigger than you can handle.
Ask, accept and I promise, you shall receive. With this practice, you are programming your brain to work for you, instead of against you. Creating new defaults, so that you can be, do and have all that you desire.
Let’s take the conversation above deeper and take it to our journal. If this resonates with you, what is your current programming?
Do you have a difficult time accepting help? Do you have a difficult time asking for help?
If yes, why? Was a there a moment (a trauma like mine) that made you feel this way and begin to behave based on that traumatic experience?
Do you find yourself doing things by default because you don’t want to rock the boat?
Do you feel like you are not good enough, strong enough, capable enough when you can’t fix something internally or externally on your own?
Do you feel guilty that you are going to be a burden?
Once you see where your current default settings are, begin to practice programming your brain with new defaults. The only way to do this is, as I mentioned above, is practice, practice, practice, repetition, repetition, repetition.
Overtime, you will not only be able to ask for help, but you will look forward to it, knowing, trusting and feeling at peace knowing that you never have to handle challenges on your own.
If you want to learn more ways to reprogram your brain and overcome the limiting beliefs keeping you from being, doing and having all that you desire, I’m in love with my online coaching course, UNLEASH Your Inner Contagiously Positive. I created it just for this purpose.