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Asking for help - Why it seems so difficult and how can one overcome it

Asking for help - Why it seems so difficult and how can one overcome it Why asking for help is difficult (photo: Freepik)

Fatigue and the need for support are common to everyone, as is the need for help at certain times - whether it's friendly advice or assistance with moving. However, sometimes even asking for help can be extremely difficult...

Ukrainian Psychologist Yulia Dzhezhelii discusses why it is difficult to ask for help and what to do about it.

Why asking for help is difficult

There are many different reasons for hesitation when seeking help. However, according to Yulia Dzhezhelii, they usually have a common root - namely, the consequences of previous negative experiences.

As a result, so-called coping strategies are formed, which may have helped avoid negative experiences in childhood but only worsen well-being in adulthood.

The most common reasons include:

  • fear of judgment and attempts to avoid situations with such consequences;
  • belief that one should deal with everything on their own;
  • feelings of guilt for being dependent.

Feelings of guilt can arise from cultural stereotypes that personal problems inevitably burden or inconvenience someone else.

While feelings of guilt can guide a person towards values, ignoring one's own needs can exhaust the body and mind, reducing the chances of recovery.

How to learn to ask for help

First and foremost, Yulia advises paying attention to the feelings that arise when needing help and analyzing their intensity.

In addition, it is worth considering:

  • what thoughts are associated with these feelings, such as "no one will help anyway", or "if I don't do everything myself, I am powerless";
  • whether the feelings correspond to the circumstances of the situation;
  • what actions the feelings motivate: trying to handle everything alone, avoiding conversations, etc;
  • what the actual outcome of these actions is: do they help.

If the feelings and actions correspond to the situation and have a positive result, it is worth following this motivation.

However, if neither the feelings nor the actions they lead to have a positive result in the long term, it is advisable to take the opposite action.

The new skill includes the following components:

  • realistic and helpful thoughts (focus on the positive outcome of seeking help);
  • different actions from those directed by negative feelings - fear or guilt;
  • a different physical response - change in posture, more tension, or relaxation.

How to ask for help correctly

It's important to remember that neither family, nor friends, nor partners can read minds, so it's necessary to specify requests. And to communicate the need for help - whether it's preparing a meal, explaining a task, or taking a walk with a child.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to voice a request several times. For a more effective request, it's important to adhere to the following aspects:

  • specify the request with details: specify the tasks you are asking for help with;
  • use "I" statements: talk about your feelings using I (I need..., I feel..., instead of you should...), avoid accusations and judgments;
  • offer a reward that benefits both parties: describe the positive outcome for both of you if the request is fulfilled.

Also, read about behaviors that can ruin relationships.