It’s hard asking for help. Whether it’s something big or small, it’s never been easy for me. Recently, I thought some more about why this is the case. It’s not the feeling of inadequacy — I think most of us can come to terms with the fact that everyone asks for help. Rather, it’s the feeling that I’m wasting someone’s time.
I’ve been searching for ways to frame things more productively, and I found one exercise that helps. Simply put, you flip things around.
What happens when someone asks you for help? How often do you walk away feeling worse than you did prior?
I almost never walk away feeling frustrated that the person asked. Instead, I find that I’m more likely to feel useful, smart, and important afterward. I react a certain way when others ask me for help, but I expect others to react in a completely different way when I’m on the other side of things. There’s a gap between my perception and reality.
I should actually be thankful that they came to me in the first place. This is a different interpretation that we started with, where asking for help is “wasting someone’s time.”
Things shift from making someone’s day worse to making it better.
Next time someone comes to you for help, sit with the feeling for a second afterward and observe it. Notice how you feel and take note of it for later. When it’s time for you to return the favor and ask for help, you’ll remember and things will be easier. You don’t need to feel bad about it, likely the opposite.
People want to help you. Give them an excuse to do so.
Thanks for reading! Check out some of my similar essays below and subscribe to my newsletter for weekly links to content that I found particularly helpful or interesting.