Reaching Out: Why is it so hard?

Reaching out for help is hard. Ask me how I know.

Three days…

That’s how long it took me to send a text message asking for help from a trusted friend.

Three days…

That’s how long it took me to email a counselor who came highly recommended as a “safe place” to talk through some important issues.

Three days…

That’s how long it has taken me to write this blog post.

Reaching out for help is hard.

But why? Why is it so difficult?

Why do some of us deny ourselves the very thing we freely give to others? Do we feel we are unworthy of receiving the help and support that we so readily pour out? Do we feel we are too good to humble ourselves and be on the receiving end?

I have spent the better part of a week asking myself these questions.

If you follow me with any regularity, then you know I believe in being vulnerable, honest, and authentic. I share my stories and encourage others to share theirs. Voice takes center stage in my life.

But why do I hold back in this area? Why do I resist asking for help?

In asking these questions, I began to reflect on several personal truths…

I have always been the strong friend. I have always been the one to encourage and inspire. I have always been the one to whom everyone comes for advice or a shoulder on which to cry. I’ve always been the big sister, the best friend, the fierce defender and protector of those I love.

This quality goes back to my early years. And it has carried through into adulthood. Always loyal. Always dependable. Always there.

I have always been the one making myself completely available to carry the heavy burdens of others while neglecting and forsaking my own mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.

But why?

I have been sitting with these thoughts and questions. And in doing so, I have discovered a few reasons.

If this resonates with you…if you, too, have a hard time reaching out for help…then I believe you will find clarity and answers in the following:

1. Hidden Pride:

As a wife and mother of eight, people often refer to me as a “super woman.” Add being an author and artist to the mix and I get comments like, “How do you find the time,” “I’m in awe of you. You’re not human.”

This can make reaching out to others difficult. Being viewed as a go-to person who is “so inspiring” or who is “always together” can create unspoken, unrealistic expectations that are difficult to uphold. It can make one feel as if they will be letting down or disappointing those who count on them. It can create thoughts like:

“I can’t share this. I’m the one who is suppose to be there for others.

How am I struggling with the very thing I talk to others about? Does this mean I’m a fraud?

I don’t need anyone else. I can encourage myself.”

And while I do not believe these thoughts, I have certainly fallen victim to them a time or two…or fifty.

This is pride. The thought that you are the one who has all the answers and, therefore, must be the carrier of all burden because you are “the one” who is able to endure the weight is silly. It’s prideful.

Ladies, we are ALL super women. And we are ALL human. Each of us have strengths and weaknesses. Each of us have times when we’re winning and seem to have all the answers, as well as seasons when we’re taking “L” after “L” and have no idea what to do next.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” Anytime you elevate yourself, you run the risk of falling. And though it may not seem like it, the notion that other people need your help but you don’t need anyone else’s is self-elevating, dangerous and prideful. We must let go of any traces of foolish pride or we will fall.

 2. Fear of Rejection:

Reaching out is hard because it requires a deeper level of vulnerability. When we extend our hands, we don’t know if the person we’re reaching toward will respond favorably or pull away. That pulling away…that being met with a cold shoulder, a slammed door, or an unanswered phone call or text…is painful.

Rejection hurts. And we fear it because we’ve experienced it somewhere in our pasts. It’s important to deal with old hurts and wounds that stem from past rejection. If left unattended, it will cause you to self-destruct. Not asking for help when it is needed is a perfect example of self-destruction.

3. The Need to feel Needed:

This stems from a lack of love and attention. And it is closely related to the fear of rejection. When we don’t receive the acceptance and care we need, we begin to look for it. And many times, we look for it in the wrong ways, in the wrong people and in the wrong places. We make ourselves completely available to others by placing their needs ahead of our own and going above and beyond so we’re seen as needed and invaluable.

The thought process behind this is,

“If you need me, then maybe you’ll love me.

If you need me, then maybe I can win you over and prove I’m deserving of love.

If you need me, then maybe you’ll see me as valuable.”

Sister, your worth is beyond compare! You are valuable. You are worthy. You are important. And YOU are enough.

These are just a few reasons. You may have uncovered some of your own. But whatever your reasons are, the habit of not asking for help must end.

Ask yourself the tough questions. Explore what really prevents you from reaching out. And then, as hard as it may seem…contact someone and ask for help.

It took me three days to send the text. It took me three days to contact a counselor. It has taken me three days to write this post. It was hard. But it needed to be done.

Even the ones who encourage need to be encouraged. Even those who inspire need a little inspiration. And even those who help, need help. So ask.

This is how we build a thriving community of “super women.”

What prevents you from reaching out for help? Share in the comments below.


2 Responses

  1. This is so good! It really is hard to sometimes admit that the strong can crumble. When you’ve been there for others and encouraging them so much, we don’t realize that we (the encourager) are in need of some strength until we are suffering in some area of our lives! At that point it is so important to swallow that pride! Whew! I’m still learning to have those hard conversations with people! You should do a live on this…it will help free so many women!!

    • Yes, Sister, Yes! At no time were we instructed to carry burdens alone. And although we should always turn to God with our troubles and hardships, even He tells us to seek wise counsel. We should be building real community in our lives and that includes sharing in weaknesses and setbacks. And the key word is SHARING. How are we sharing the load if we’re the only ones carrying it? Yes, a live does sound good. Certainly more conversation needs to be had regarding this topic. Blessings, Sis!

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