Asking for Help

Craig has a nickname for me – Diana.  As in, Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s alter ego.  He lovingly calls me this whenever I try to take on too much, which means I’ve been called that a lot, lately.

It’s not that I mean to pile my plate so high that I get overwhelmed, but I am so horrible at asking for help, that I wind up taking more and more on, until I reach my snapping point.  It’s been a trait of mine for as long as I can remember.

I’ve always been very self-sufficient, even in school.  Much of what we learned came very easily to me, so I don’t think I needed to ask for help a whole lot back then.  Though I do have a memory of asking for help in Geometry class that turned out badly.  I was a wiz at simple math and algebra, but geometry confused me no end.  It didn’t help that the teacher clearly didn’t know much about the subject either, and simply read the day’s assignment straight from our books and then told us to do the homework.  He didn’t break it down for us, or give examples other than the ones used in the book.  So, when I went to him one day to ask for help, he said “You’re a smart girl, Alyx.  I’m sure you can figure it out.”  I wanted to scream at him, NO I CAN’T!  THAT’S WHY I’M COMING TO YOU!!

That’s how it is with me, though.  I’ll try to figure something out on my own, and only after I’ve exhausted every possibility (with little or no success), will I ask someone else for help.  It’s like I have this ridiculous soundtrack going on in my head that tells me that asking for help means I’m stupid or weak or whatever bad adjective fits the moment.

Interestingly enough, I don’t have those same judgements when others ask me for help.  In fact, I like helping, and actually feel good when someone comes to me for assistance.  So it often frustrates me that I have such a negative reaction to my requesting help from another person.  I know it’s a detriment to myself, not to mention that it deprives someone else of the good feeling they’d get by helping me.  I just have a hard time pushing past the poisonous self-talk.

This is something I notice most in my Weight Watchers group.  I’ve been a member since 2007, and lost a bunch of weight in the first six months.  I’ve spent the last three and a half years gaining it all back, plus some.  There are so many tools that I could use to help me get back on track and lose the weight again – the biggest one of all being to ask one of my fellow members for help – but instead I sit in the back, and berate myself for not being able to do this on my own.  Granted, I am learning more and more about myself, and am making changes slowly, which I feel good about, but I also wonder if I’d be more successful if I just said to someone at my meeting “I need help.  Would you like to help me?”  I even know one or two people who I think would love to help me, so there wouldn’t be the fear of being rejected.

To be fair, I am a little better at asking for help now than I used to be, and Craig’s been wonderful in helping me with that.  When I do gather the courage to ask for help – and believe me, it takes a lot of courage to admit I can’t do everything myself – Craig’s always happy to lend a hand.  He says it makes him feel good to know that he’s helped take some pressure off of me.  He’s even gone so far as to notice when I’m nearing my snapping point, and will jump in and offer assistance before I break down and cry from the overwhelming frustration.  So I am getting better at it . . . it’s just a slow process.

I would love to hear some suggestions from you, though.  How do you go about asking for help from people?  Do you have a select few that you go to, or does it depend on the situation?  Does it take you a while to summon the courage, or is there some phrase that you say to yourself that makes it easier?

Yep, here I am . . . asking for help.  🙂

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kaye George
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 09:54:42

    As I got older and more and more overwhelmed, I did learn how to do this. Sorta. Once, when my kids were all still at home and I had volunteered to be den mother, on the nursery school board, treasurer for a couple organizations, etc, I had a week where I had to hire a sitter 5 nights in a row (hubby was out of town on business). That made me stop and think–who is it benefiting, me doing all these things “for my kids”? I took a part time job and used that as an excuse to quit almost all my volunteer activities. Now, when I’m doing too much (see, I still let it get out of hand), I stop and evaluate my projects and cut some. At the moment, I’m deciding which email lists to drop off of! I’ve cut a couple this week.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 21, 2011 @ 09:58:17

      I’ve also started looking at what’s on my plate & what do I need to cull. It’s hard to do, though, when so much of what’s on there will (eventually) benefit me. But you’re right, it’s better to pay attention to what will benefit me in the here & now.

      Thanks for stopping by, & for the sage advice. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Kaye George
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 10:04:22

    This is especially hard to do with promotion opportunities for my book. I feel like I SHOULD do everything. But, you know, I can’t. I need to remember that!

    Reply

  3. Maddy
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 10:13:30

    I am very bad at asking for help so I’m not going to give advice. However, I can tell you the flip side – when someone asks me for help, most of the time I’m only too delighted to try – makes me feel useful.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Oct 26, 2011 @ 10:15:58

      Yep, I know people feel that way (I do too), which is why I really want to get better at asking for help. It would start a “feel good” circle, because they’d feel good for helping me & I’d feel good for being helped & for knowing they feel good (& on & on). 😉

      Thanks for stopping by today, Maddy!

      Reply

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