By Rachel Puryear
We all know that it’s best to ask for help sometimes. Certainly, this is an important skill that not everyone learns early on in life, but that it is necessary to eventually cultivate.
An essential skill to build on top of asking for help, though, is to then accept help. And yes, there is a distinction between asking for help, and also accepting help.
If you’ve ever tried to help someone else who was struggling with a problem – and then they made it so difficult to help them that you gave up trying or regretted getting involved – then you know what I mean. Someone who makes others sorry they tried to help in the first place – whether by consistently mistreating others trying to help, making unreasonable demands, refusing to also help themselves, wasting others’ efforts at helping, or whatever – discourages others from assisting them, and therefore does not accept help, even if they initially asked for it.
Accordingly, it is always important to ask for help – and helping others to help you, and doing what you can to be easier to help, also makes them much more willing and able to do so. This is what it means to also accept help.
Of course, it’s always easier said than done. Sometimes people might not consciously intend to reject help or push away people trying to assist (as opposed to accepting help) – but bad habits, unresolved trauma and dysfunctional learned patterns, having been harmed by people pretending to “help” but instead took advantage, and mental health issues can underlie such a pattern. So, at the same time, it’s not always as simple as just intending to accept help as well as ask for it, or to know that this is important.
Rather, it’s something that happens a lot – where people have trouble accepting help, even where they clearly need it and would benefit from it – and to be aware of. If you are genuinely trying to help someone and want to do good but they reject your help, do not take it personally – it has to do with them, and something is going on with them, and it’s not a failure on your end. How to handle it, depends on your specific situation – there are no easy answers.
Thank you for reading, dear readers. xoxo