Why do we struggle to ask for help?

You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village”.

It’s unlikely that someone will reach their highest goal, or become their version of successful, alone. It takes a village. Whether you’re raising a child or a business (or both), the expression remains true. 

So, why is it so f*cking hard to ask for help? 

Elayne Fluker, author and host of the podcast ‘Support is sexy’ explains that “A lot of women feel that in order to prove our worth or that we’ve ‘made it,’ you have to somehow do everything by yourself. She explains this as the ‘I’ve got it’ syndrome, which she characterises as being unable to accept the support that is offered. 

We’re smart enough to know that we can and we should ask for help, but why aren’t we?

Traditionally, women were expected to give away their time and value. We have a history of being volunteers and carers, tending to others without the expectation of any sort of compensation. 

In these times, there were a clearly defined set of rules around how to be a ‘good’ woman.

A good woman is selfless, nurturing and only aims to assist others. A good woman makes her husband look good in the community while putting out their fires in secret. No task or request is too much trouble for a good woman. 

The idea of the ‘good woman’ is now, thankfully, outdated. However, these expectations still linger in some rooms. 

We are women of the modern world, who were raised by women who were expected to be the ‘good woman’. Today, we deal with the passive cocktail of knowing what life used to be like for women and knowing how lucky we are to live in the present day.

This cocktail riddles our minds with one complicated, passive message; don’t be ungrateful.

We all need help. Sometimes it’s because we’ve got too much on our plate, or we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, or we’re just juggling too much. That little voice in our head that tells us ‘don’t be ungrateful’ stops us from asking for help in these situations. 

If you ask for help, it might look like you can’t handle it. If you can’t handle it, then you don’t belong in the room. If you don’t belong in the room, you’re sending the message that you can’t handle being in the room. And BANG, you’re being ungrateful for the opportunity in the first place.

We are natural caregivers, and most of us enjoy embracing that role for the people we love. But, in 2022, we can have more, so we want more.

We want it all, and we want to prove that we can have it all. We want to prove everyone wrong that doubted us and we want to show everyone that thought otherwise, that we are capable of achieving that goal. 

Asking for help, well, that would suggest that we can’t have it all.

To the woman who says “I’ve got it”,

You are kind, capable, intelligent and strong. But not because you’re doing it all, alone.

You are kind, capable, intelligent and strong because you believe in yourself so much that you think that you can do it all. 

And you know what, you probably can! But at what cost? You only have so much fuel in your tank, if you use all your fuel doing everything alone (for yourself and others), your tank will be empty for the things that truly make you happy. 

You are not weak when asking for help. You are not incapable when asking for help. 

You are smarter because you know when you need support. 

You have proven that you can do it, but that doesn’t mean that you should do it.

Reach out to someone you love today, and ask for some help with a simple task. Use that spare time to reward yourself for the step you’ve taken today. 

Do something that makes you happy, you deserve it.

And always remember, you don’t have to do it alone for it to be your achievement.