Accepting Vulnerability: Asking for Help is Courageous

By Jaydee Valerie Cruz


Illustration: Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels


Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you have no clue where to begin or it’s too difficult to identify what to do? You know the only way to completely understand is to ask someone else’s advice, but you can’t or don’t want to. A voice inside of your head tells you: No, don’t do it! They will think you’re incapable of handling everything on your own. This voice may come along with a worry that people might think you are too weak if you ask them how to do a task. I am here to tell you that none of those are true—asking for help is not weak, it is a strength.


Oftentimes during a school task, I would sit there in silence as the whole room buzzes with questions and confusion after the instructor leaves an assignment with minimal directions to continue about. The rest of the group would ask around what each other would do. These are normal occurrences of curiosity; it gives the person asking an approach that would likely be a template for them to being with. It’s harmless, thus, making it easier for them to start the said work. The feeling has always felt foreign to me — being able to approach someone and ask for help. I’ve always thought that when I tap a person’s shoulder to ask a question, they would see me as irresponsible for not remembering a simple instruction. There are also times when I would eavesdrop just to get the proper instruction instead of going up to them to ask directly.


It might be the introverted persona or the anxious nature that has pulled me back away from the path of right answers and easy conversations, especially after a few years of being stuck at home. CNBC states that from finding someone to do groceries for you or seeking emotional assistance, asking for help can be “strangely uncomfortable to many.” Although it was tough for me to overcome these facets of my life, I knew I had to at least try. So, over time I slowly started asking one or two people for help. “Another practical strategy is to reframe your request so it’s a conversation, rather than a transaction,” according to M. Nora Bouchard, an executive and leadership coach in the CNBC article. For example, as the person and I would start sharing, the conversations would continue and the workload would be finished in record time. Along with figuring out what to do with the tasks that the instructor left us with, I would be able to create a bond with another person.


There are moments when I also feel the need to seek someone else’s opinion. However, my mind fears the impression it would create about me; it might seem like I am indecisive–and all the negative adjectives I can think of. A recent study, according to Stanford News, says that “Others may be concerned about burdening and inconveniencing others.” And you see, that is the problem: we think too much about how people would view us before even asking for their help which should not be the case. When we take those thoughts away and realize that once in a while we need help from another person, it becomes easier to approach others and it can also make us seem more approachable to them.


Let us try to take the negative and condescending thoughts away from us for a moment and think of this: When we ask for help, we are not perceived as scared or weak. On the other hand, asking for help means we are confident in our vulnerability. It means we accept that we don’t know everything, but someone can help us with our concerns, and we may be able to help them with theirs. 


“In a world where people expect problems to be solved fast, surrounding yourself with people who can help you in different situations is highly valuable,” according to a journal at Shift Workspaces that talks about asking for help. This ideology of independence should not always be considered, especially if we are aware that we need help deep inside. We should not force ourselves to do things on our own if people are willing to give us a hand. Additionally, according to a journal from Stanford News, “People want to help, but they can’t help if they don’t know someone is suffering or struggling.” The same article suggests that “A direct request can remove those uncertainties.” This way, we allow the other person to understand what we want them to do.


The voices inside our heads will always be present, but they are not always right. People are not always judging us. Thus, it is all right to ask for help, agree to get help, and seek kindness from other people. This is what makes us human. 


Moreover, when we ask for help from others, we can boost their confidence because we are letting them know that they are competent and trustworthy. Allowing them to help us with our queries is a great way to get them to believe in their abilities. Not only can we show confidence by initiating this exchange, but we are also making another person feel valuable!


Our doubts about asking for help may never completely go away. Again, it is ever-present, that feeling of hiding our vulnerability from the rest of the population because we were taught that to mature is to be independent. Nothing is wrong with that; it is not wrong to try to do tasks by ourselves. But by knowing our limits, we have a clue how much we can take. So, if we cannot take the pressure anymore, let us remind ourselves that people are willing to help. 


Can you help me with this?


Am I doing this correctly?


These simple lines and other equivalents could change the course of our outcomes.


Hey, there is no harm in asking for help. Go ahead and try it.


The opinions expressed here by Communicare contributors are their own, not those of Communicare Training and Development.


About the Contributor

Jaydee Valerie Cruz, 23, is a fourth-year student studying Bachelor of Arts in Literary and Cultural Studies at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila. She aspires to develop her skills in writing and creating art. One of her hobbies is listening to music, which becomes a source of inspiration for her writings. She is currently focusing on her final semester in college while thinking of her future.