STRONGER TOGETHER: Need help? You've got to ask for it!

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Last updated: 16/01/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses asking for help when you need it.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

When was the last time you asked for help?

Many of us find it difficult to accept help from others, and asking for it can feel impossible. At times, it can seem easier to sit with our struggles, tell ourselves that things will be okay and bury our head in the sand. In time, problems solve themselves, don’t they? Sometimes, but not always.

The brutal reality is that you cannot do everything by yourself.

So why is asking for help so hard?

Asking for help demands that we show our vulnerability. Some strive to achieve perfection in every role that they do, measuring their success or failure in terms of the number of things that they can achieve. Some don’t wish to be a burden to others or fear that their request for help may be rejected.

It’s common to underestimate people and whether they will help us. Many of us grew up with the belief that it is weak to ask for help, instead believing that we should be able to get through whatever it is that is troubling us on our own, without help.

Sometimes we might not realise that we need a hand, or the support we get might not be quite the right fit, so we turn away from it. But when we do this, nothing changes.  

Now think about the last time you helped somebody; how did it make you feel?

Humans are hard-wired to help others. Most of us like to believe we are good people willing to be of service to others, so do not like to turn down a request for help. And let’s not forget that helping someone else is a huge boost to one’s own self esteem!

If you feel guilt or shame around asking for accepting help, I’d encourage you have a think about why this is.

Ask yourself some questions to help break down your barriers around asking for help:

  • What happened before when I asked for help?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen if I ask for help?
  • What is the best thing that could happen if I ask for help?
  • Who could I ask for help?

It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to ask for help, and it’s there if you just ask. Be brave, reach out.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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