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This page is about how self-compassion and mindfulness and skills such as forgiveness, kindness and compassion can help us with depression and anxiety.
One of the issues many of my clients struggle with is asking for help when they need it. There may be many reasons for this, although most often it has to do with a fear of being vulnerable, being rejected, or looking needy.
Sometimes this can be an issue in only one area of their life, for example in romantic relationships, or friendships, or the workplace, or sometimes it can be pervasive and exist across all domains.
The consequences can range from painful emotional ones such loneliness and emotional isolation to more severe ones such as consequences in the workplace when you cannot manage the stress or work collaboratively well on a project.
In the workplace and in our personal lives, we cannot survive alone and independent of others. We are interdependent. We need one another. It's understandable that you might feel afraid to ask for help from others, especially if you work in a corporate environment. Unfortunately the world we live in now, fosters competitiveness and separation. Yet even in these places, a part of us naturally wants to be in connection with others.
Approaching leaders in these environments in the correct ways, and asking for the help you need correctly, is not only good for you but a positive career move. Here is a great article about asking for help in the workplace.
Once you become aware of this as an issue you can start working on it and discover what particular circumstances for you contribute to the issue, and for everyone, its different.
Your fear of asking for help may have to do with your childhood and how you were raised. You may think that asking for help is being too vulnerable and showing weakness is dangerous. Or perhaps you were taught that you can depend on no one but yourself, and if you do others let you down. This may be a message you learned directly, or one that was taught through experience.
The truth is that most of these ideas you have about asking for help aren't true.
Psychological studies studies show that we drastically underestimate the likelihood that others will help us. Most people want to help. It makes them feel good about them self. How do you feel when someone asks you specifically for your advice or help because you have special knowledge or are trusted?
Sometimes my clients also think people also should know they need help and should offer. Studies also show people are more likely to offer you help if you specifically ask for what you want and what you need help with. People often have no idea what you need or what you are struggling with unless you tell them. The more specific you are the more likely you are to get what you want.
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I think it's important to ask yourself what the cost of this behavior is ( not asking for help), and take stock of it. You can change any behavior you are aware of, and if you no longer like the consequences, you can change it. Allowing someone to help you can have positive consequences in many dimensions of your life, and can be healing and therapeutic for you , as it has been for many of my clients.