THE BLOG
08/31/2016 12:01 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ashamed To Ask For Help: Is This A Problem?

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I have always considered myself an independent person who is capable of doing multiple things at once and doesn't need anybody else's help. And I've always had problems to ask somebody for help. It was as if it were something humiliating. I have always thought that being independent meant the capacity to solve all the problems on my own, with some exceptions, of course, like professional medical assistance.

But once I went to a psychological training, and during the training, the psychologist told all of us that incapacity to get help from others and inability to ask for help, means not independence in the positive sense, but rather inner fears and closeness to the world around. "Wait a minute -- I thought, so is this a problem? What are the reasons for not being able to ask for help? Why is it so difficult to ask somebody for assistance? Why do I feel so ashamed if I have to ask someone for help? And does asking for assistance mean not being independent?" Trying to be honest with myself and find the answers to the questions, I've come to realize that asking for help has nothing to do with humiliation and doesn't stand in the way of independence. And, of course, there are reasons why some of us might feel ashamed to ask for help.

The main reason is the fear, fear of being rejected and receiving the answer "no." Such concerns can be traced back to childhood when children, being afraid of getting rejected by parents, slowly learn to avoid rejection by not asking something that would most probably be answered negatively. In adulthood, these fears can take a different form, from the fear of being rejected to the fear of becoming a burden to somebody, the fear of depending on someone or appearing weak and out of control. And this is the point where it's worth asking yourself: Is being weak so bad? Haven't we created a society for a reason? Is it possible to live on your own without ever asking for help? Probably, not. And this is one of the causes why we live in society, hand-in-hand with other people who can provide us help when we need it. It's quite natural as one cannot know everything -- that's why there are specialists in different areas. And the primary step to overcoming such fears is to realize that it is perfectly Ok not to know everything, and there is nothing shameful or humiliating in asking for help or advice. Besides, you can always pay back: if somebody asks you for guidance or some assistance, you might give this person a favor by answering a question or helping with something you are proficient in. By doing so and helping each other, we also gain a valuable experience and can learn new things. There is nothing shameful in asking a professional to help you, for example, choose a proper heat pump for your house or apartment, or ask somebody to help you change a tire if you are not sure how to do it properly. We can't be good at everything, but we can learn about different things more if we aren't ashamed of asking for professional assistance.