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“I’m here if you need anything” vs. The Social Shame in Asking for Help

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

Woman asks for help when she needs it without shame.Catalyss Counseling provides treatment for depression and anxiety in Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling in the Denver area 80209 and 80210

We are socialized to think that asking for help shows that we are “weak” or not able to handle things or life ourselves. Logically, however, this doesn’t make sense. Humans do not exist in isolation; we depend on each other every day to handle things and get through life. A family unit breaks up the household chores amongst themselves, a soccer team uses every player on the field to win the game, and groups in the workplace are increasingly popular to get big projects done. Why, then, do we feel ashamed when we ask for help?

Grief and Asking for Help

Man asks for help after a loss or death.Catalyss Counseling provides treatment for depression and anxiety in Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling in the Denver area 80209 and 80210

A friend of mine recently lost her father unexpectedly. As usual, I let her know that I was thinking about her and her family, and what a tough time this was for everyone. “I’m here if you need anything” or some similar sentiment was also said, but I knew she wouldn’t take me up on the offer. Because reaching out would mean that she wasn’t “strong enough” to handle the grief and the loss on her own. And that pained me, because I knew I had a lot to offer her through emotional support, resources for the grieving, or even helping to guide her through the grief process.

Asking for Help as a Sign of Weakness

It seems that those in emotional pain, such as grief from a loss, expect to be able to handle the pain on their own. Have you ever experienced this? That you’re hurting so bad emotionally from something that you think you’re the only one hurting. Or that others will see you as “weak” and will lose respect for you if you reach out and ask for help. I’ve certainly experienced this myself in the past, but luckily I’ve learned a different way of coping now with emotional pain and grief. Reaching out to others who you know and trust, who will have your back and will support you no matter what, makes it a lot easier to get through your pain. You will feel less alone and more loved, and when you’re hurting this is incredibly important.

Actively Offering Help

Woman offers help to a friend after death.Catalyss Counseling provides treatment for depression and anxiety in Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling in the Denver area 80209 and 80210

Perhaps we need to get better at actively offering our help, because it’s so difficult for others to ask for that help. Instead of saying “I’m here if you need anything”, which is for sure an admirable and heartfelt sentiment, maybe substitute “I’d like to drop off dinner one night for you. What comfort food do you love to eat, and what night works best for you?” Or even something like “I read this book (insert book) and it really helped me understand the grief process. I’ll drop it off at your house tomorrow”. These are non-intrusive yet active ways of offering to help, of making it easier for your friend, family member, or colleague to then turn around and ask you for specific help in the future.

If you know someone who is in emotional pain from a loss of any type, modeling for that person how to accept help will likely make a bigger impact than you can even imagine. We all have those friends that don’t like to ask for help, that feel it’s shameful to ask, or even weak. But these friends may need our help most of all. Keeping all of your emotional pain inside of you can lead to even more problems down the line, such as depression, anxiety, or even physical complaints. Make a change in how you approach someone else in emotional pain, then try to make that change yourself. Your friends and family will likely thank you for it.

How We Can Help

Back by popular demand, we are offering the meaningful connections group in july 2021!

Improve your self-esteem and learn coping strategies through meaningful connections with others!

For anxious or isolated millennials who are ready to go from a lack of fulfilling relationships to meaningful connections with others in a safe, supportive online group.

This group will be hosted by Leah Sadeghi, LPC

If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation

  2. Or, you can book directly online with the therapist of your choice

  3. Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life

Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:

Author Biography

The owner of Catalyss Counseling, Shannon Heers, located in Englewood CO and serving all of Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling.

Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and the owner of a group psychotherapy practice in the Denver area. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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