Why is it so difficult for some people to ask for help?
I was in a discussion earlier about that very question. While we did discuss it as well as we could over the phone, and thought the discussion pretty well covered, it just crept back into my thoughts as I sat here playing solitaire. Because let’s face it, that isn’t something that takes a lot of focus and concentration. Say like, chess.
So why is it, that it is difficult for some people to ask and accept help? Its obvious that we are in strange times. We are still dealing with the pandemic. Though information is erratic, changing from moment to moment. We are attempting to figure out truth from fiction, fact from fallacy. Many whose lives were upended, trying to regain lost footing. Many, who had not been in a place such as this and finding that discovering the right path to take is difficult.
There have been times in my past when we were in a difficult position. The first when my husband had lost his job and was having difficulties finding another, and then when my husband passed. People were incredibly generous, we were richly blessed with them and their support. Their financial gifts kept us above water. Though we never asked, and my husband had a hard time accepting at first.
That is one of the points that was brought up in the conversation I was in with a friend. When we give something as a gift, no strings attached, it makes us happy in that we were able to give. To help another or simply give them something out of generosity of heart. So why, with us knowing how good it feels to give, do we deny that feeling to others? Why do we prevent them from the same warmth of heart? I don’t believe we do it with the intention of prevention. I don’t think we do it out of deliberate selfishness. So then why?
Is it because we are accustomed to being the giver and not the recipient? Do we not know how, to accept help? What thoughts, consciously or subconsciously run through our head when it comes to having a need and asking for help? Especially should it come to financial?
In the conversation I brought up the food distribution lines I have seen and how I and my mother have made comments on how we wouldn’t take food from there out of fear of preventing someone with greater need getting food for their family. I feel that way with asking and accepting money. Maybe someone else out there with greater need, who could use it even more, will do without because of me. Guilt complex maybe. Fear and concern about taking from someone who needs it more.
The comment was made that God provides and He does. So, while I have made comments from time to time, and once (half) joking made the if anyone has an extra $$$ suggestion, I have never asked outright for money. Because I know that God does provide and I would in no way want to give any implication that He does not. Even though, I have known His provision to come through friends and past coworkers. Still, there is the fear that if you ask, others will think your faith is weak or worse false.
There is also the shame factor. Scroll down through social media and see what happens when someone asks for help. Even if it isn’t always a request for money, the trolls and antagonists come out in force. Get a job is their favorite mantra. Even when some of the requests have been for leads on jobs. Signs everywhere. Yes, they are. That doesn’t mean the individual is able or qualified for the nearest jobs or those jobs may not offer the hours and pay that individual needs for their family. Someone asks, and gets attacked so people quit asking. Silenced and shamed through cruelty and arrogance.
There may also be the fear of feeling as if they are taking advantage of or possibly accused of taking advantage of the goodness and kindness of family and friends.
There is also the fact that there are people who may be in similar situations as I am. People who suddenly find themselves out of work unexpectedly. Physically capable of working, but needing to be home to take care of family. No, my parents are not helpless, but their age puts them in a position of needing someone close. Someone available in case of emergency. It is the same with parents with special need family members. And some times, the money just doesn’t stretch.
Too many people have been self reliant for so long. They needed no one as they were able to handle all of their needs no matter what they were. But, we are in weird times. It is not easy for someone who never needed help, to find themselves needing a helping hand. Even more difficult to ask. Or to accept when offered.
Now I am wondering, what do you think? Why do you think it is difficult for some people to ask for help? Why, is it difficult to accept help when offered? Is it pride, fear, shame? Or something else entirely?
I agree, that there is a lot pride that interferes with humbling ourselves to admit we need help. There is so much social status in the world, that at the very least we want to be seen as equals, not as the one who needs help. Yet, like you point out, our need for help one day, may be what we need to soften our hearts to offer help another day to someone else.
In some cases I think there is a question of motivations and strings that make us cautious about receiving or asking for help. To ask puts you in a vulnerable position of possibly having to bargain or submit to someone’s request to owe them later. The movies and media also play a part in our social fears of one another. This is where God helps remind us that we are all made in His image and so to offer someone a cup of water, or to be the recipient of a cup of water, is something of doing the same for Him (Mark 9:41).
I agree. We tend to want to be the giver, not really realizing that we are denying others a gift and blessing when they are able to give to us.