I asked for help today.
It was tempting to wait a few more days, to see if I really needed help or if I could manage on my own.
But last night, I asked myself, Why wait?
And the only answer that came to mind was from my People-Pleasing past.
A Woman Who Helps Others
I grew up hearing, “Some things ought not be spoken.”
Although “some things” was an unwritten list, I knew it by heart.
And I knew that “needing help” and “asking for help” were most definitely on The List.
Because, of course, needing help and asking for help might be interpreted to mean that we weren’t perfect.
That we were failures.
So, I kept quiet about my own needs.
I tried hard to be a woman who always helps others but never needs help herself.
What Asking for Help Does NOT Mean
I asked for help today because I refuse to believe the lies of the People-Pleasing bully. All day, I’ll be reminding myself what asking for help does NOT mean:
1) Asking for help does NOT mean that I am a failure.
I may be in the midst of failing. But failing does not make me “a failure.” It just means I’m human.
2) Asking for help does NOT mean that I’m lazy (and should “just try harder”).
I may be trying harder than I’ve ever tried in my life. But I may be doing the wrong thing or doing the right thing the wrong way. Both of which mean that “trying harder” will only make things worse…faster.
3) Asking for help does NOT mean that I’m stupid or incompetent.
No matter how smart or capable I may be in some areas, there’s so much more I don’t know and so many more skills I don’t have. Believing that I should “know it all by now” and be able to “do it all by myself” is pride, pure and simple.
What Asking for Help DOES Mean
I’m also reminding myself, today, what asking for help DOES mean:
1) Asking for help means that I am learning.
Trying and failing means I am learning. On this planet, failure is a key part of the learning process.
2) Asking for help means that I value myself.
Refusing to “just try harder” once I recognize that I’m doing the wrong thing, or the right thing the wrong way, is a sign of self-respect.
3) Asking for help means that I am teachable.
Rejecting the idea that I “should already know ______” or “should just naturally be able to ____” is an act of self-compassion.
4) Asking for help means that I value others’ input.
Welcoming others’ experience-borne expertise demonstrates trust, humility, and receptivity.
5) Asking for help means that I choose not to do life alone.
Recognizing that I need other people reflects acceptance of God’s plan for me to live in community.
A Woman Who Asks for Help
I asked for help today because I’m struggling with a new situation that’s dragging me back toward old destructive habits. But I don’t want to slide back.
So I’m asking for help to make sure I don’t.
In this new situation, I’m not sure how to be my best self. Should I speak up or stay quiet? Should I take action or wait? I want to live as God’s masterpiece even in the midst of difficulty.
So I’m asking for help so I can be 100% me.
The various people involved in this new situation each have their own agendas, and People-Pleasing is trying to convince me to tap-dance to everyone else’s tunes. I desire to live in the center of God’s will.
So I’m asking for help to make sure I do.
If you’re a woman who only offers to help, here’s the truth you most need to know:
You’re created to be a woman who also asks for help.
Today … and every day.
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of Overwhelmed and You Don't Have to Try So Hard. She's also the co-host, with Amy Carroll, of the Grit 'n' Grace podcast.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for 30 years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (27) and Jonathon (25), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about personalities, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and mother-daughter relationships at CheriGregory.com and life as a Highly Sensitive Person at SensitiveAndStrong.com