Self-Care Sunday: Ask for Specific Help from Specific People

self-care sunday Sep 19, 2021

Resilient people know that asking for help is a strength and not a weakness, so in this week’s Self-Care Sunday tip, we encourage you to reach out and ask for support when faced with a challenging situation.

But don’t just ask for any ol’ help. Ask for specific help from specific people.

Many people have a belief that asking for help—or even disclosing their troubles—is a sign of weakness. They think they should be able to handle their problems on their own. They don’t want to seem needy or broken, so they suffer in silence, pretending they are fine when, in reality, they are not okay and need help.

Everyone needs help sometimes, and often, we need specific help from specific people. We might need advice from someone we admire. We might need our sister to pick up our children from school. Or we might need financial support from a family member.

Disappointments, setbacks, failures, and obstacles that feel overwhelming are part of the human experience. Rich, poor, old, young, married, single, kids, no kids: No one is immune to life’s hardships.

And when you are facing a hardship, your loved ones want to help you. It feels good to help people we love. Think about it: You can probably relate to a time when helping someone and having a positive impact on their life gave meaning to your life.

So resilient people don’t just suffer in silence. They use the skill of asking specific people for specific support.

Your loved ones don’t know when you need support, and they don’t know exactly what you need from them. If you need support, then, ask for it—and be specific about what you want from the people you are asking for help.

Your request for help might sound something like this:

  • “Can you do something for me? I need a break from talking about my divorce, and I need to laugh. Will you be one of the people who takes my mind off things? I would love to go for a weekly hike with you and just laugh.”
  • “I am trying to do too much right now, and that means I keep dropping the ball. It would help if I could get to work a little bit earlier. But that means I need someone else to take my kids to school. Would you be willing to do that for a month while I get some things under control?”
  • “My relationship with my kids is deteriorating, and I need some advice about what I might be doing to add to the problems. The trouble is that I’m really sensitive about it right now, and I’m worried that if I ask for hard truths, I will end up getting upset. I’m asking you because I know that you are a really diplomatic person. Could you gently help me see how I can change my relationship with my kids?”

Everyone needs support in different ways. When receiving advice, some people like hard truths, and some people like a spoonful of sugar. Some people like talking about their problems to whomever will listen, and some people like talking about their problems to some people, but not to others. Some people don’t want to talk about their problems at all—they want help tackling the day’s tasks.

Resilient people stack the decks in favor of successful outcomes by asking for specific help from specific people in times of need. They know that it takes courage and strength to ask for help, and that doing so is never a sign of weakness.

Questions to consider:

  • Why do you think many people have a hard time asking for help?
  • Can you describe a time when you helped someone when they needed it, and how did it feel to help them?
  • Think about a when you reached out for support when you were upset about something. How did that feel?
  • Can you think of a time when you did not ask for help when you needed it but now wish you had?
  • What is something you need help with right now? What specific help could you ask for, and from whom?


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