Find Happiness in Asking for Help
When ‘Help’ is a Dirty Word
I am a do-it-all-by-myself kind of person. Why? Because, I am a perfectionist. If I ask for help, they might mess it up. Because, I want to be in control. Because, I am a strong and independent woman. Because, I don’t want to come across as weak. Because, it is uncomfortable being vulnerable.
But, It's Good for You and Others
It turns out, I actually admire people who ask for help. I’m not talking about needy people… that’s more like a cry for help. Neediness is what happens when people don’t ask for help and become martyrs and self-sacrificers. No, I am talking about competent people who are comfortable with their vulnerability. And, it turns out, leaders who ask for help, are more trusted by their employees. In his research, Paul Zak inferred that, “Asking for help is effective because it taps into the natural human impulse to cooperate with others.”
The queen of asking for help is my mom. My sisters and I actually give her a hard time for her “princess” tendencies. But, now that I am a mother, I recognize the power of asking others to help out. It is precisely because of this “impulse to cooperate with others.” Most people, when they come over for dinner, love to be put to work: cut this, serve that, grab the plates, take this to the table… When we make something together, everyone has more fun. There is more buy-in, and folks are more invested in a quality outcome. Asking for help allows others to be co-creators. They feel more powerful, more seen, and a greater sense of belonging.
So, Open Yourself Up
In her research on courage and belonging, Brené Brown discovered that, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness.” Basically, if you want to feel loved, you gotta get used to the uncomfortable feeling of being vulnerable. You don’t have to dive in. Take your time.
- Take notice of people you admire asking for help.
- What happens when you ask to help others?
- Notice when you could use some help, but don’t ask for it.
- What happens when you open up about things?
AND, breathe in gratitude:
- Be grateful for people who offer you help. Do NOT assume they think you are weak. We can learn from these folks; they probably know what it’s like to be vulnerable.
- Remember that if someone helps you, it makes them feel good.
- Appreciate the opportunity to reflect on your burden... Are you carrying/doing too much? Why?
NOTE: One of my greatest fears is that asking for help reaffirms my rightful place as a helpless woman. What?!?! Isn’t it interesting that women, who are culturally/biologically associated with being open and receiving are traditionally labeled the weaker sex? Embracing and lifting up vulnerability IS a feminist act. As our society learns to appreciate the power of being open, we begin to truly value the potency of females.
Start with an Intention
Begin with a prayer for openness. Meditate on receptivity. Start to align yourself with the power of vulnerability. Stretch. Ask for help in asking for help.
Talk to Your People
Let the trusted ones in your life know you are working on asking for help. You can ask them to get curious and notice times when you could use support. Talk to your partner about how hard it is to share the burden, how uncomfortable and oddly undeserving you might feel. Challenge yourself to take a day off. Communicate with your kids when you are feeling out of sorts. Let them know when you don’t feel good, and ask for their support. Teach your children to help out by doing chores. Tap into their human desire to cooperate. When you are with your friends, invite them to share their stories about asking for help.Remember that asking for help is good for everyone. You are building connection.
Turn to the Invisibles
Believe that the Universe wants you to be happy. Spirit is manifesting through you, and your joy is the joy of the world. The Invisibles are what I call the spirits and energies around us. They are ancestors, deities, Archangels, God, kami, land spirits, faeries, etc... They can help you. Here are a few examples of how I seek assistance through Spirit:
- At night I say Archangel Gabriel’s name three times and ask for help in remembering my dreams.
- When I shower, I call upon the power of Archangel Raphael to bring me health and strength.
- When I had trouble getting pregnant, I asked for the blessings of my ancestors.
- I learned from Sonia Choquette to ask little Nature Spirits for help in finding misplaced keys, parking spots, and lost toys.
Try This Simple Invocation
Begin by taking three deep breaths. Visualize pulling up energy from the Earth, and drawing down energy from the cosmos. Feel the energy fill your heart with white light. Say out loud (or in your mind) the name of the spirit whose help you seek. Speak to them, naturally, about your concerns. Let them know you need help. SAY THANK YOU. It might sound something like this:
“Dear Ancestors, I am struggling with my four year old. I could use some help. Thank you for helping me understand his moods. Thank you for patience. Thank you for helping him grow through this phase. Thank you for kind words. Thank you for reminding me to take a break.”
Say Thank You
Gratitude is key to receiving help. If we just take, we suck the life force from others. Gratitude is about being in right relationship with those who give their time, energy, and love. When you ask for help from a place of appreciation, you ask from a place of abundance. If you ask from a place of wanting, the act of asking only accentuates the yearning. Also, it’s plain disrespectful to not say thank you. Finally, when we give thanks, we pay tribute to the bond between us and others. In gratitude we find belonging. We find home.
In a Nutshell
- Release your fear of asking for help
- Other people like it when you ask for help
- Get vulnerable (it’s uncomfortable, but do it anyway)
- Begin by setting the intention to ask for help
- Ask for support from the people you trust
- Pray to Spirit(s) for support
- Be Grateful
Go Deeper with Tarot
Sometimes it isn't always clear how and where to open up. I crafted the Asking for Help Tarot Spread to help identify areas where you are currently receiving help, what you are ready to be vulnerable about, burdens you are less aware of, and what you can expect as you open up.
Download the Asking for Help Tarot Spread.
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