Do You Ask For Help?

Do you ask for help?

 

Truth is I rarely do. And trust me it’s not a good habit not to. As I grow older, I realise this is one of my major flaws, this inability to reach out and ask for help. In the quest to do everything myself, I end up with more than my fair share to do. My voice constricts when I find myself even contemplating asking for help. It makes me feel worthless. I find myself thinking ‘Can’t you even do that?’ And let you in on a secret, this is so common among women.

 

Maybe it’s time women stop being multitaskers. Maybe we should afford ourselves the luxury of being human. Maybe we should ask for help every now and then. Women need to remember that asking for help doesn’t reduce their self-worth. It is not a sign of weakness but strength. I need to remember that asking for help is natural and a very human thing to do.

 

My voice constricts when I find myself even contemplating asking for help.

 

You would have noticed how we women always tend to go ahead and do chores at home on our own instead of waiting for the men in our lives to help us with those. Even though we are neck deep in work, we rather do those dirty dishes as well ourselves instead of asking the family to pitch in. Or, in spite of having a severe headache, we would rather stop our partners from doing the cooking for our kids than rest. We just somehow have to do everything. I don’t understand when or how we have been so naturally conditioned for this.

 

These are just two examples of occasions when we shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help but somehow we don’t. There is something that stops us, stops us from being human or less than perfect, for God forbid if we were to say we can’t handle housework along with our careers because it’s just impossibly tiring. Impossible being the key. But we still strive to do it all. I think it was in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In that I had read about the maternal gatekeeper behaviour that we women exhibit. Maybe that is one of the reasons for our inability to ask for help, to put our hands up and say that we can’t do it all.

 

“State what you want, and go for it, don’t refuse yourself a request you did not make.” 

― Bangambiki Habyarimana, Pearls Of Eternity

 

Time and again we tend to give fuel to the belief that we are some sort of superwomen. Trust me when I say that this is not at all in our own interest. Far from it actually. We are just a bunch of overworked women who take up more than our fair share of chores owing to our gender, owing to the belief that we have to do it all thereby freeing the other gender from all such responsibilities.

 

Time and again we tend to give fuel to the belief that we are some sort of superwomen. Trust me, we just want to be allowed to be flawed human beings too. #women Click To Tweet

 

This defect or whatever you may call it is so ingrained in us that we hardly ever notice it anymore. Time and again my husband has pointed out how I should ask for help when taking care of my naughty toddler gets too much, that I should just step away just like he does. But I just cannot seem to do that. I constantly feel overloaded and overworked, irritated too, as if the weight of the world is on my shoulders. And a lot of this can be reduced if I would just ask for help. But I just don’t. Sometimes I wonder what am I trying to prove and to whom?

 

“Never let your ego get in the way of asking for help when in desperate need. We have all been helped at a point in our lives.” 

― Edmond Mbiaka

 

I think often the belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness is the reason behind many being unable to ask for it in the first place. Of course, it’s not exclusive to women but when it comes to us, it has a lot to do with being taken seriously as well, to being enough. The need to be strong, independent is so enormous that we often mistake asking for help as a step backwards. The ability to balance everything gives us a feeling of accomplishment subconsciously that no matter how exhausted that makes us we still reach out for it.

 

The need to be strong, independent is so enormous that we often mistake asking for help as a step backwards. #Women Click To Tweet

 

I think in my mind I feel asking for help will take away from all that I do. So, I hesitate. And with each passing day, it takes me one step closer to a burnout!

 

“Brene Brown has found through her research that women tend to feel shame around the idea of being ‘never enough’… at home, at work, in bed, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never thin enough, never good enough…

 

If I ask for help…

I am not enough.

 

It’s no wonder so many of us don’t bother to ask, it’s too painful.” 

― Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help”

 

So, tell me, do you ask for help?

 

Picture Credit |  Pathdoc via Shutterstock

 

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15 thoughts on “Do You Ask For Help?

  1. I actually do ask for help. Not only ask but I delegate chores at home. Like you mentioned, that helps me from burning myself out. Besides, unless we specifically communicate what we require, how will the rest of the family know? I’ve seen that some women are very fussy about not taking their partner’s help in the kitchen because they may use more dishes or make the place dirty. I say, it is better to gently nudge their husbands to put things back in place or use fewer dishes than to avoid taking help. Seeking help has always been a strong point of mine. I hope you can do it too, Naba, now that you have acknowledged how important it is.

  2. I agree with you, we do tend to take on more than we can chew, resulting in overworked, irritable and on the edge versions of ourselves. I think part of this behaviour stems from hearing older women in the family claiming how much work they pulled off without so much as a murmur. We have also seen little or no action from the menfolk of the family while growing up. Obviously this leads us to construe that it is our lot to handle all the chores despite having a full time career. But in today’s times I think it is perfectly sane and need of the hour to reach out for help. In fact why do we need to call out? It should be obvious for the other members in the family to pitch in. Thought provoking piece Naba.

  3. I am definitely not this woman, but my mom is and sometimes it frustrates me that she doesn’t want to let go off that maternal guidance thing. Yes, probably too conditioned to be perfect in everything. I hate the whole concept of superwoman that media portrays. Imagine the kind of stress a woman has to live with if she starts being one. Take all the help you need I say.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The night before Christmas PartyMy Profile

  4. Hugs, Naba. A long time ago, thanks to burnout which led to insomnia, depression and bipolar disorder, one of the first things I learnt was to delegate and ask for help. 16 years later, it’s the only thing that keeps me going. Now that Gy is old enough, she helps wherever she can, pitching in and helping out. V is extremely hands on too.

    I think it isn’t so much a woman flaw as it is a personality one. Some of us just don’t feel like asking for help. Once I overcame that, it became much easier for me to handle different roles with comfort . So do ask for help. It will get tougher as you grow older and the kid grows up. Their needs become more defined and more demanding. You owe this to yourself.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…How I’ve gone without yelling for over 800 daysMy Profile

  5. I know so well how frustrating it can be and how difficult it is, knowing that when we ask others to help they may never do it as perfectly as we would. Nonetheless, we cannot be multi-tasking always and we cannot burn out, so ask we must, Nabanita. Unfortunately, I too, like you, went through a very difficult time and suffered enough to find myself at the end of my tether, juggling far too much than I could handle at the time. You definitely need to ask for help and delegate more to keep your sanity because parenting gets more and more challenging as they grow up and you need a breather too!

  6. Not asking for help is our Achilles’ heel. We constantly keep stretching the boundaries. We feel ashamed to ask for help or delegate work to others.

  7. I remember the first time I really asked for help. I was 40! I stressed about it for ages, but in the end, the people I asked stepped up and were nothing but helpful. I think they liked being needed. It was a good lesson for me! You’re right though – and I don’t really know why we are too ashamed to ask for help, when needing help – for whatever reason – is not a shameful thing. Excellent, thought-provoking post!
    Mali recently posted…Our tribe isn’t quite so invisible these daysMy Profile

  8. I so needed to read this! As a woman and a person, I’m someone who never asks for help. Not because I have an ego or something, somehow asking for help is something that doesn’t exist for me. At all. Thanks to this I’ve experienced burnout, anxiety, depression and what not. One would think that I’d learn by now, but sadly I somehow cannot ask for help. Be it from anyone.

    I was a multitasker until some time ago, but I have learnt to let go and not do a few things. But now, I’m gonna ask for help and make sure it gets done. Not just let it be.
    Soumya recently posted…A Break From Reading With The Book Lover’s TagMy Profile

  9. It’s not only the courage to ask for help, but it’s also the trust that needs to be established to believe that the help will happen. If I delegate and then the tasks remain undone then I’m much less likely to ask for help in the future. It’s just easier to do it myself, knowing it will get done!

  10. I know exactly what you mean Naba. I find it tough too. The only saving grace is that I have become conscious of it and have begun to make myself ask for help. A few days back when I sprained my back I did call up my SIL to help pick up the children. Only, I still wait till I reach an extreme before reaching out for people.
    The nice part is that a lot of people, specially those close to us like it when we ask for help. I know I do. If someone asks me for help I love to pitch in. The only catch is, we need to have a certain level of informality so we have the freedom to refuse if for some reason we cannot help.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Eat Seasonal, Eat LocalMy Profile

  11. This is such a healthy post, and ripe for the picking. I feel very fortunate. I worked for #Starbucks for 7, 8 years and one of the things they teach every partner (employee) is the star skill of ASKING FOR HELP! It is brilliant! A corporate culture where you can ask freely and learn openly. I kind of spread it all over life from that! Thank you @HowardSchultz @StarbucksCoffee @StarSkills xoxo
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…GUEST POST: Tips for green traveling with kidsMy Profile

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