Asking others for help is one of the hardest things to do. Consequently, we power through our days trying to do it all on our own. If we only knew that we didn’t have to go it alone!
Our helpers are there. Our advocates are waiting to lift us up. In fact, a Stanford professor found that we hugely underestimate the extent to which others are willing to help. In three separate trials people underestimated others’ desire to help by as much as 50%.
When times are tough, or you are in need of some outside counsel, remember these three reasons to reach out to those you trust to ask for help:
1. They love you more than you know.
Do you hesitate to ask your friends and family for help because you don’t want to be a burden? Don’t be afraid to ask; they want to be there to help you as you have been there for them. Researchers found that we are appreciated and cared for more than we know. When asked if they perceived a peer in a positive or negative light, the descriptive adjectives people used to characterize others were overwhelmingly positive.
You may need emotional support with marital issues, someone to go out with to the latest comedy to clear your mind, or even just someone to read your millionth text about your frustrating meeting at work--those who love you (more than you know) will be there anytime, anyplace.
2. You are still strong, don’t worry.
When asked why it’s so difficult to accept help from others, single mothers often share that they are afraid of letting their guard down. They have been strong for so long and have held everything together on their own. Do you, too, fear losing some power by admitting you need help?
A study on the resilience of single mothers actually found that the more supported a single mother felt, the more success she attained for her family. Getting help from your mother, sister, neighbor or friend replenishes you.
3. You will pay it forward.
The ancient Greek historian Thucydides famously said, “We secure our friends not by accepting favors, but by doing them.” Receiving care, concern and real help from our friends and loved ones fill our souls. We feel connected and secure.
As we realize the strength in our ability to ask for help, let’s use the fruit of that harvest to become a blessing in the lives of others. If a friend gave you a ride one day, offer a ride to someone in your life who is in need. If your brother gave you his time as you talked through a crisis, don’t hesitate to be there for him when the time comes. Without a need for recognition--without a need for praise--freely share the generosity you have received.
After all you have been through, remember that you are stronger than you think. Asking for help doesn’t diminish you, but rather empowers you and those around you.
T.D. Jakes is a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinking, entrepreneur and compassion humanitarian with a voice that has reverberated from the world's most prominent stages. His look at life comes from the perspective of a father, a student, a pastor and a friend. His daytime talk show will be premiering this fall across the nation. Follow @tdjakesshow on Twitter!