Asking for help is not weakness

Asking for help is not weakness


Estimated read time: 8-9 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim addresses our tendency to not ask for help, though we need it. She explains the subconscious policies that create this tendency and how to change it.


My spouse and I have struggled with marriage problems for years and years. I have begged to go to therapy or counseling but my spouse refuses to let anyone know we are struggling and not perfect. It’s like she would rather get divorced than admit we need help. What can I do? Why are people so reluctant to ask for help?


I’m so glad you asked this question. Just last week, Matt Townsend and I were discussing why so many couples wait until their marriages are hanging by a thread before they seek professional help. At this point awful things have been said and done, and it’s much more difficult to repair the relationship. It breaks our hearts that they don’t ask for help sooner. If you would seek out help at the first sign of trouble, repairing the relationship would be a hundred times easier and you could save yourself years of suffering.

If you didn't do that, the best time to ask for help is today.

Ask your spouse if she would be open to at least read this article and consider changing her mind.

People are reluctant to admit they need help because somewhere in the course of their life they picked up an inaccurate idea (policy) around what it means to ask for help. Here are some common fear-based policies they might have learned in childhood. See if any of them sound familiar:

  • You shouldn’t be a burden on others. You must handle things alone.
  • If you ask for help, you will bother people and they won’t like you.
  • You have to be perfect at everything or you aren’t good enough.
  • If you admit you need help, you are weak and people will lose respect for you.
  • You should be independent. If you need anything from others you are inadequate.
  • You should be able to figure things out on your own. If you can’t, something is wrong with you.
  • You may be afraid of rejection, ridicule and/or losing the respect of others. (Were you ever ridiculed as a child for shortcomings? This experience may have created this fear.)
  • You must impress other people or you are deficient or stupid.
These subconscious rules or policies feel like truth in your head. But they aren’t. You think they are serving you because they feel like they keep you safe from judgment or rejection, but they are costing you more than they're helping. You are protecting your ego’s need to impress other people, but you are suffering and miserable. Is it really worth it?

Ask Coach Kim
Do you have a question for Coach Kim, or maybe a topic you'd like her to address?
Email her at kim@lifea

Refusing to ask for help can also create isolation and make you come across as arrogant. You are literally putting yourself above other people (the mere mortals who need help from other people). You are giving power to the idea that we should all be perfect from the beginning instead of struggling students in the classroom of life.

The truth is, we are students in the classroom of life. We are works in progress who at no point are ever going to be perfect and have it all figured out and not need any help from anyone else. There is no such thing as independence. We are all interdependent here. We all serve each other as teachers and students.

There is no shame in being the student on occasion. It is what you are meant to be. Learning is what you are here for. Have I shared with you my favorite definition for the word SHAME?

It is an acronym — Should Have Already Mastered Everything.

How ridiculous is that? You can’t know everything and be an expert at every dimension of living. That isn't possible. You must learn to be honest, genuine and vulnerable and admit you need help once in awhile. You must also remember that doing this does not affect your value.

Your value is infinite and absolute (it is not changeable or on the line because life is a classroom, not a test). This means that whether you ask for help or not, your value is the same.

When you really understand this principle, it will take the fear of looking bad off the table. You will stop worrying about what others think and focus on learning and growing instead.

What you really want is to be a strong, wise person, right? But strong, wise people aren’t those who are trying to impress others with their perfectness. People who are trying to impress are actually terribly afraid they aren’t good enough, which is why they feel they have to impress. They think they must pretend to be perfect to even have value.

Asking for help in front of your children is the only way to teach your children they have nothing to fear by asking questions and admitting they didn't know it all. And this is a lesson you want your children to learn. Don't pass on inaccurate fear-based policies to your kids.

Real strong and wise people don’t need to pretend anything because they know their value is infinite either way. Real strong, wise people are basically fearless.

This means they have no fear of doing anything (or at least they know how to choose this mindset in any situation), which means they can ask for help, be vulnerable and even look stupid, and none of these experiences change how they feel about themselves.

Their value is the same regardless of what anyone thinks of them.

Strong people ask for help because they understand that in being real enough to admit they don’t know it all, they give other people permission to be imperfect (and still have infinite value) too. They make other people feel more accepted and honored despite their faults.

We all like people who are genuine and not trying to impress us.

Asking for help in front of your children is the only way to teach your children they have nothing to fear by asking questions and admitting they didn’t know it all. And this is a lesson you want your children to learn. Don’t pass on inaccurate fear-based policies to your kids.

Here are some ways you can ease into asking for help (and being more strong and wise):

  • If others offer their help, accept. Give them a chance to serve you.
  • Start asking for help but avoid asking people who scare you (you know what I mean) the people who are quick to judge or who treat you as less than them already. Find people you can trust to accept you, no matter what. Practice asking them for help, and choose to remember your value is the same the whole time.
  • Practice exposing yourself to risk and being vulnerable. You may want to read "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown. It’s a great book on this topic. We would all benefit from having the courage to be vulnerable.
  • Remember what other people think of you is irrelevant. You are the same exact you no matter what they think. Their opinions don’t mean anything and they can’t hurt you unless you let them. You are bulletproof.
  • Remember, strength comes from fearlessness. Strong people ask for help more. It is weak people who are scared and don’t.
  • Remember, every situation that shows up in your life is here to teach you something. This means that every problem you encounter is meant to be solved and the answers you need are meant to be found through someone around you. The universe can’t make you ask for their help, though. That part you must do on your own.
  • Start giving more help to others. Look for opportunities to share what you know and help others solve their problems. While doing this make sure you see them as the same as you. You will see that you don’t lose respect for them because they asked. You might actually respect them more.
  • Be fearless and step outside your comfort zone a little every day. Trust in your absolute value and your perfect classroom journey. Choose to focus on other people instead of yourself. This will make you feel safe even when taking a risk.
  • Take some time and rewrite some new policies (based in trust) to replace the fear-based rules you have let drive your thinking before now.
    • Asking for help is not being a burden. I just give the person an out if they need it.
    • You don’t have to be perfect to be good enough. You are good enough all the time.
    • Strong, wise people ask for help and are respected for their strength.
    • No one is really independent. As human being we need each other, and it’s meant to be that way.
    • You don’t have to figure things out on your own. We are meant to help each other.
    • If you focus on impressing other people, they will feel your need to impress and lose respect for you. Just be yourself and own your flaws, people will respect you for it. It takes courage to be vulnerable.
    • Everyone needs professional advice once in awhile. We can’t all be experts at everything. Why suffer one minute longer when professional help is nearby.
Hope this helps.

You can do it!

About the Author: Kimberly Giles --------------------------------

Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of She is also the author of the new book CHOOSING CLARITY: The Path to Fearlessness. She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.

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