There’s a stigma floating around the concept of asking for help. It’s taboo to throw in the towel and reach out for support. We’re shamed for it. It’s a commonly held belief that we’re supposed to do everything solely on our own. Girl power. Rawr and stuff. Seeking assistance for our physical, emotional, or mental well-being is a sign of weakness. Being reliant on no one but ourselves is, supposedly, the sign of true strength. Owing nothing to anyone, getting through by our own grit and tenacity, is how stuff gets done.
While I once believed this to be to be true, I’ve hit enough rock-bottom points in my life to know that this attitude is false and detrimental to society at large. Asking for help is perhaps the biggest sign of self-confidence and strength there is.
Asking for what you want is easier than asking for what you need. Subconsciously we don’t always expect to get what we want. Because it’s not a necessity — some fancy shoes, a dinner out, the newest iThing — it’s easier to ask for since your life won’t be dramatically affected if you don’t get it. So if you ask your spouse, friend, neighbor, hair dresser for something outlandish and you’re told no, you will still go on living and breathing as normal.
Asking for what you need, though, is a totally different story. If something is seemingly vital to your life and you ask for it and you’re told “no,” that can really mess with you. Say that you feel like you need some medication to aid in your day-to-day life. You go to your doctor, sit on some paper in a bare-backed robe and plead your case. Your doctor doesn’t really hear you, rushes you through your exam, and poo-poos your request for help. That’s the worst-case scenario (and a good reason to find another doctor), but it’s terrifying to think about, so rather than being brave and bold and making that appointment, you choose to stay silent and miserable and never take that step.
But going in and asking for something that you desperately need, knowing that you might be turned down, turned away, or have a door slammed in your face, that takes courage. That takes strength. That takes confidence.
Knocking on your neighbor’s door to ask if you can borrow a couple of eggs. Walking up to the mom club at drop-off and asking if someone can take your kid off your hands for a few hours. Emailing your boss and asking for a meeting to discuss a potential raise. These are scary things to do because they put you in a position where you could face rejection. They place you in a vulnerable state, and it’s hard to feel like you’re at the mercy of others, even if the request itself seems trivial. But doing these hard things, getting uncomfortable, reaching out to receive help when you are at the end of your rope, that’s how you get stronger. It’s how you get to where you want to be in life. It’s how you become bold and brave and a badass, and it’s a sign of confidence and strength.
It is absolutely not a sign of weakness, in any capacity, so banish those thoughts.
If you know yourself well enough, if you’re aware of your physical, mental, and emotional needs, and you know what you need to be your best self, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It shows others that you are strong enough to ask for help and brave enough to seek it from anyone who’s capable of lifting you up.
It reveals to the world just how much of a confident and strong woman you are because you’re willing to be vulnerable to get what you need. It’s inspiring to others around you who may also be struggling, and haven’t yet mustered up the courage to reach out.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. If you’re going to be afraid, be afraid of what might happen if you don’t. Then knock on someone’s door or pick up the phone and go after it.
This post first appeared on Scary Mommy