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Asking For Help

It’s hard to ask for help. I know people who’ve gone years rather than get the help they need.

Prolonging asking for help means that you’re likely living in pain. Sometimes, a lot of pain. I’m not talking about the physical pain which comes from some sort of physical injury. No, I’m talking about the emotional pain that comes from grappling with a mental illness, substance abuse, or even an ongoing relationship issue.

That kind of pain takes a long time to heal on its own. That’s where there are people out there who are standing by, ready and willing to help.

All you need do is to find a way to ask for it.

Dr. Deb Serani had a good entry a week ago about how to ask for help, specifically the common myths and facts about “asking for help.” You should check out her article (linked below), but here are a few valuable, insightful snippets from it:

Myth: It makes us look vulnerable.

Truth: Asking for help creates an atmosphere of empowerment. It communicates to others that, while you may not have the answers, you are willing to find them and make things better. […]

Myth: Highly successful people never ask for help.

Truth: Actually, successful individuals will tell you that the key to success is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Learning how to delegate, asking for help and letting others show you the way are part of the plan. Successful people are driven and motivated — and when the going gets tough, the tough ask for help!

I couldn’t agree more with that last one. The most successful people I know are ones who know what they’re good at and then surround themselves with people who are good at everything else. They readily acknowledge when they don’t know something and instead of pretending they know it, they ask questions to try and educate themselves.

You’re the best expert on yourself. But even though we’re all experts on ourselves, that doesn’t mean we don’t all sometimes need an outside opinion or someone to lend a hand. Even master carpenters need help building furniture. And a world-class violinist didn’t achieve that position on their own.

She ends her blog entry with these key points to remember about seeking out professional or other help for yourself when you’re struggling with something important in your life:

  • Have realistic expectations for the kind of help you are seeking
  • Express your needs simply and clearly
  • Let others know you are there to help them as well
  • Praise your pals for their assistance and pat yourself for asking for help

I think the number one reason why people don’t ask for help is simply fear. Fear that others will judge them for seeking help, fear that others will see them as weak or damaged. This fear is the same kind of fear that holds many people back in their lives.

But fear, like any emotion, can be overcome. It takes effort and work, but if you conquer this fear, you can seek out help and improve your life or situation. Every journey begins with a first step. Takes yours today.


Read the full entry: Dr. Deb: How To Ask For Help

Asking For Help

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2020). Asking For Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 May 2020 (Originally: 11 Aug 2008)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 7 May 2020
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