Embracing the Embarrassment of Asking for Help
I’ve recently started a nonprofit company and one of the main requirements for its success is my ability to ask for help, ask for sponsorships, donations, mentors, and press.
The inner “I can do it all myself” attitude cringes at the thought. Asking for help is akin to admitting weakness, failure, or lack of previous success.
Here I am with a dream to help others, my nonprofit was born out of my own story of struggling with an eating disorder and now my chance to give back and help other women out with the journey back to health, confidence and body love, but I’m in the space of totally and completely needing the help of others to make it happen.
While my financial resources are limited, my energy and passion resources are maxed to the brim. It I could convert that energy into cash, we’d be set.
Alas, they aren’t right now. So I must face my shame around asking for support, so I can help. Where does that embarrassment come from?
From feeling like independence is a success, from not wanting to be dependent on anyone? Dependence may mean the loss of freedom. We learn that young. If you’re dependent, you lose your power to truly decide. Or so we come to think.
That’s some deep programming from youth, it lacks the human kind understanding that is one of the huge tenets of survival. Our species has survived because of tribes. One of my key sayings is, “it takes a village” and yet, my emotional reaction to asking for help is showing that I’m ok with that if others can depend on me, but I don’t want to depend on them. I think many of us feel that way, it’s so easy to help others, to see hands held out and give and give and give — especially mothers. It’s in our DNA. It becomes our identity. We identify so much with giving that asking for help is a foreign language.
But to really change the pattern and tap into the power of the collective, that self-dependence cycle needs to stop. Reaching out is an act of love, for myself and for the work I’m doing and the people and places I’m helping.
What if I believed enough in what I have to offer, in my contribution, that I grasped onto the truth of the matter- that I need you, and you need me.
I need financial help to bring this work to the world, and you need me to make it happen. You need me to do my work, just as much as I need you to do your work.
The village mentality seems to have gotten lost in this era of personal empire development. Our collective strength gets lost when we aren’t reaching out and using the strengths and bonds of community and connection. The shame we hold around reaching out needs to be released.
Asking for help can become an act of self-respect and also a respect for the massive power of the collective. We are a species, we are better together — let that sink in.
Can we ask for help from a place of value? Can we give help without pity or judgment? Can we all see the investments of each person an intricate, unique and valuable part of the fabric of our existence?
And there’s another intellectual reasoning I can tell myself — people want to help. They are looking for ways to contribute and support causes they believe in. Giving them the opportunity to help out is a gift. If I truly could let that soak into me at a soul level — I would ask more, I would reach out and dive deeper into the work I can do.
The resources are there, the community is there, the barrier is completely personal. A mind block, an emotional shame block, a skewed perception of the truth.
It does take a village, tribes matter for our survival, and so does asking for help with a complete belief in the value of your contribution to that same community.
I do know the more you ask, the easier it gets. And when you are offered help and support — the excitement of my soul confirms that this is exactly the way humans are meant to interact.