Asking for Help

Help by Quinn Dombrowski

I know that asking for help is a sign of strength, but it feels more like weakness to me. I don’t like feeling needy.  I don’t like not knowing. You would think by now (58 years is a good number) that I’d be on friendlier terms with the idea of help and support- isn’t that what Women’s Forum is about?  Isn’t that life in a nutshell – help? Well.  I’m pretty sure that even when push comes to shove,  I’m not asking for help.  I have some kind of self-image to protect: Independent. Capable. Responsible. Never weak.

So there it is: I have an (irrational) belief that asking for help is weak. I don’t know how to ask and I can’t allow it. My friends are on to me about that – wiser ones can spot the syndrome. They know how to disguise helping – for example, casually mentioning Anne Lamott’s new book,  “Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers.”

Anne suggests that asking for help is a prayer, and that prayers are blessings. Wow – what a reframe.  If asking for help is a prayer, what might that sound like? Here’s a sample from the book, which would certainly do in a pinch.

“Hi God,
It’s all hopeless.
What else is new?
I would be sick of me if I were you but miraculously,
You are not.
I know I have no control over other people’s lives and I hate this.
Yet I believe that if I could accept and surrender this, you would meet me wherever I am.
Wow. Can this be true?
If so, how is this afternoon – say 2-ish?
Thank you in advance for your company and blessings.
You have never once let me down.

Or another more direct version:

“Dear some something,
I don’t know what I’m doing.
I can’t see where I’m going.
I’m getting more lost, more afraid, more clenched. Help.”

What I like about these prayers for help is how they acknowledge I’m clueless, but it’s okay because guess what?  Something else isn’t. And while it’s probably not God who personally answers me, I will come to know.

So back to asking for help.  I have needed serious help multiple times; overcoming eating disorders (control is the greatest addiction), becoming self-employed (some close-calls to being unemployed), becoming a mom (and then single mom), facing (and avoiding) health issues.   When I pretend I don’t need help, I get more stuck.  yeah.

What about now? As I shared in my previous blog (Decisions, Decisions) I need help now more than ever.  I can’t do Women’s Forum alone.   I need feedback and guidance and inspiration. I know what I’m doing and there’s more I don’t know.

Here’s a progress report on (reframing) asking for help.

  • My friends and my husband: they let me talk about wForum all. the. time.  It’s good we hike uphill so I only have so much wind.
  • Mentors (you know who you are) inspire me and keep tabs on me so I don’t over-complicate things. Books like help thanks wow simplify things.
  • Family and friends cheer me on, correct my typos, and listen to my ideas….even the cuckoo ones.
  • Members who are photographers, videographers, writers and editors, (thank you) provide website images and testimonials. Thank you for updating our Facebook page, sharing your take-aways and why you (ahem) ‘like‘ us.
  • Shadow my dog reminds me that being a goof-ball is charming and being a pest is well, pesky.
  • Have I said thank you enough? doubtful. Thank you.

Maybe the real reframe is that asking for help teaches me to say thanks more often.  This month we are talking about Help – asking for it, accepting it, resisting it (resisting help is a whole other bag of beans) and anything else to say on the topic.

Tell us what HELP means to you. I’m really asking you -yes, YOU. We’ll post your comments and images, and we would love to feature your full length blog post on the subject (or any other subject).  We’d love to hear from you! Contact us on our contact form here, send us an email, or post your comments below. Thank you.


Post by Adelaide Waters

Quote from the “Help, Thanks, Wow: The three essential prayers” by Anne Lamott

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