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How to reach out for help when you find it difficult


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Dolors Massot - published on 05/12/21 - updated on 04/29/24

Our desire to do everything on our own can get in the way, but asking for help benefits both ourselves and those helping us.

Do you notice that you find it hard to ask for help when you have a problem? Have you had some difficulty lately but you still don’t dare to ask for help from other people? This approach drags out problems for a longer time, and many times we’re not able to solve those problems definitively.

Why is it difficult to ask for help?

Most of the time, the reason we haven’t asked anyone for help is our pride or vanity.

We believe that we can do everything on our own, that we’ll be able to get ahead without having to show our weaknesses to other people. Perhaps we took a crash course in self-help and learned that we have to boost our self-esteem, but we went overboard.

Each of us has talents and great value, but we’re not omnipotent. (New Age gurus lie to us by telling us that the power of our mind is infinite, which is clearly not true.)

We are not invincible

The reality of our lives is that each of us has good qualities and strengths that we can and should cultivate and enhance. But it’s also true that we aren’t invincible. We face difficulties and we don’t always have all the tools we need to overcome them.

For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to think that we can always resolve our problems on our own. Instead of always being fiercely independent, we should recognize that we can’t reach our goals without asking for help from others.

Relying on others helps us to reach our goals on both the physical and supernatural levels. Being ready to ask for help is always useful, in everyday circumstances, such as getting a jar off a shelf that we can’t reach in the supermarket.

The same principle applies in our interior lives: “No one is saved alone,” says Pope Francis, speaking about fraternity among people in order to be happy on earth and to reach heaven.

We don’t like others to see our weaknesses

Another danger is not asking for help because we don’t want others to know our weakness. “If they find out that this is happening to me, they’re not going to respect me as much,” we think. We proudly choose to preserve our independence rather than talking about our problem sand ask for help.

What would we think of someone who suffers from pneumonia but refuses to go to the doctor? We’d recognize that he’s foolish, wouldn’t we? He’s missing the opportunity to get well and live a better life.

That’s exactly what happens in our lives when we resist asking for help out of fear of what other people will think or say. Vanity ruins thousands of opportunities people have to get help.

So, how can we ask for help?

Asking for help is much easier than we imagine. Let’s reduce it to four simple steps:

  1. Tell someone what’s wrong. Express what your problem is and what help you think you need in order to solve it.
  2. Be straightforward and honest. You don’t need to justify yourself or tell lies in order to convince people to help you. It’s better to acknowledge that we’re simply asking for help, plain and simple. There is no shame in that. We all need help at times.
  3. Trust other people. Don’t make assumptions about whether someone will help you or not. Trust that they will, and you’ll usually be pleasantly surprised. Remember that giving to others is one of the natural goals of human nature, so when we ask for a favor, we’re actually putting into action the most human part of our humanity. We’re asking for an act of love, expressed in the other person’s generosity.
  4. Be grateful. Whatever the other person’s response, say “thank you.” That person has given you the opportunity to step outside yourself, to be humble and sincere, and to open up to other people. It’s something you learn by practicing.

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