Why is asking for help so difficult? We need assistance but we just don’t reach out. Instead we choose to suffer alone. With individualism running amok, one in four people say they have absolutely no one to confide in. How sad!
Of course it doesn’t help that we live in a “suck it up and do-it-alone” culture. Our ingrained American independence is creating a culture of need and unprecedented isolation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Asking for help is a skill you can learn. Not only will it ease and enhance your life, it can deepen connections, reduce stress, restore energy and remind you that despite your grim determination to endure hardships, you are not alone!
If you find that you need a little more help than usual these days, try our four simple steps to reach out with more comfort and confidence. Trust us, it will make your life easier!
1. Ask early and often
This technique is based on an old political saying, “vote early and vote often,” says Nora Klaver, master coach and author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need, the ultimate anti-self-help book. Building your mayday muscles requires regular practice. With exercise you can become more comfortable in your requests. And when you do ask for help, make sure you articulate. Clarify what you’re looking for – from terms to timelines. But be careful not to micromanage – and don’t wait till the last minute either. If you expect that you need help making the rent, don’t wait until the 30th to get assistance.
Faith grounds our heart and soul. Believe that you are not alone and that your needs will be met, and you will be able to make your request for help from that place of centeredness, says Klaver. Your voice won’t shake (or at least it will quiver less) and your request will be clear and strong. Rather than being filled with worry, you’ll know that your need for a ride to a doctor’s appointment will be met. You have the power to manifest!
Remain grateful. Gratitude helps put your need into perspective. When you recognize all the blessings of your life, your need will be in proportion to those blessings. Gratitude will also help you to receive either the yes or the no response. With gratitude, if you hear a “no” to your request for help in watering your plants while you’re in the Bahamas, you’ll still recognize the gift – because now you’re free to move on to another solution. Once you get someone to help you out, use the “three thanks” rule, says Klaver. Don’t flub the thanks. Express your gratitude three times – when the agreement is struck, when the need has been met and the next time you see your helpmate.
4. Cast a wide net
Expand your list of helpmates. Look beyond the obvious – family and friends – and add some new names to the list. For instance if you need money to fund a project, keep in mind that there are organizations that are also looking for you. And when you do gather up the courage to ask for help, be attentive to the subtle cues behind a general “yes” or “no” response. Is your potential helpmate willing – or reluctant. Be honest. Rejection is a part of life. On a smaller scale, maybe you need someone to look after your beloved pet while you are away, and maybe they need the nurturing of a furry friend who will love them unconditionally for a short while.
Just remember that we all need help at one time or another and that “interconnectedness” is part of a fulfilling, happy life. If you don’t have a chance to help someone out, that feeling is impossible to come by. Also, know that providing someone with the chance to give help can make them feel better as well. So ultimately, asking for help, isn’t just all about you! Good luck.
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