The 4 Hardest Words: I Need Your Help
For women, those seem to be the four hardest words in the English language.
“I need your help.”
We’ve gotten better at knowing we need help.
It used to be that those three words were the toughest – I need help.
But, to our credit, we’ve made progress and have learned to recognize when we need help. And we have no trouble telling ourselves we need help. We’ll say it to ourselves inside our heads; we’ll whisper it under our breath to see how it sounds out in the world.
However, the issue is when we need to ask for help from someone specifically.
Afraid to Inconvenience Others
As I’m writing this, I had two separate calls today where women I coach mentioned having a conversation with their significant other where they asked for help in their health journey.
One was that they needed to use the living room area in their home for workout space, as it’s the only room where there’s sufficient space to get a workout done. The caveat though was that she didn’t want to work out in front of her husband (or anyone), so she felt as if she was kicking him out of his own living room in order for her to have 30 minutes to take care of herself.
The other was asking her husband to do more active things when they were spending quality time together, rather than their routine of simply going out to eat (which typically meant making food choices she wouldn’t otherwise make at home).
It dawned on me while listening to each of them tell me their situation that we, as women, have an incredibly difficult time asking for help from someone in particular.
When it’s a generality, “I need help,” it’s not burdening someone else. Rather, it’s just putting it out into the ether in the hopes that the universe responds with a miracle.
But when we ask for help from someone, there’s a feeling of burdening them or inconveniencing them in some way.
Especially When It Benefits Ourselves
The kicker to this whole asking for help thing is that when we’re the beneficiary of the help, it (for some reason) feels like an even bigger ask.
For example, you probably have no issue asking your significant other with help bringing the groceries into the house. It’s a mutually beneficial thing – you get help carrying ALLLLLL the groceries you just spent time getting and they get food in the house (plus, if they’re lucky, you’ll even cook it for them!).
But when asking for something for you, and only you, there’s something inside our brains that warns, “you’re being selfish… Do you really NEED that? What if it’s an inconvenience and he’s not going to want to do that. What if he says no? Then what? Surely you don’t have to burden him, you can figure something else out.”
Or if you’re like many women I know, you’ve tried a dozen different ways to get healthier and eat better and exercise more. And each time you were all in, and gung-ho about it and THIS was going to be the one that finally worked.
So you asked for support from your significant other and, of course, they supported you.
Except then it didn’t work, or you fell off the wagon, or life got in the way and you ended up feeling like a failure. In your own mind, you became the girl who cried wolf.
Now you’re at the point where you’re ready to try again – which, let me remind you, is a fantastic thing! Except you’re skittish about asking for help because deep down you’re afraid you’re going to fail and you’re wondering if he’s secretly thinking, “here we go again,” when you ask him for support.
Even just thinking about having the conversation asking for help leads to tightening up inside, getting nervous, and the thought of burdening someone else is cringe-worthy at best.
Except when you finally work up the nerve to ask for the support you need, there is ZERO hesitation and you receive confirmation of full and unconditional support.
It Was That Easy
Turns out it was just that evil bitch inside your brain trying to convince you that you have to go it alone.
The people in your life who love you WANT to support you. They WANT you to live well and feel good and take care of yourself.
You are not a burden to the people in your life, and taking care of yourself is not a selfish thing in their eyes.
But they can’t read your mind… ASK for the support you need to reach your goals. I promise you, it’s worth it!
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