Are You Afraid to Ask for Help?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When I was a kid one of the greatest causes of my anxiety was not knowing an answer to a problem or worse yet having to ask someone to help me out. I would have rather spent hours trying to figure out the solution to my problem on my own than dare go up and ask one of my teachers for help. In doing so, I wasted many precious hours searching and researching a topic versus going straight to the source for guidance. Even if they didn't give me the answer, I am sure they would have pointed me in the right direction.

When I started my journey to a healthier me in February 2005 I decided this time I was not going to follow just another diet--I was going to educate myself on the process of getting healthy. I was no longer going to accept everything at face value. I am a firm believer that when we understand and educate the why and how things happen to our bodies during the process, then and only then we can let go of the myths many of us have spent a lifetime following.

When I joined SparkPeople five years ago the Healthy Lifestyle Centers became my source of knowledge and education. Not only are the articles well researched, but they are written in a manner that makes it easy for most of us to understand.

The Community Message Boards also became a source of help and guidance. Coach Jen, Coach Nicole, Coach Tanya, Coach Dean and Dietitian Becky all became a part of my team in helping me learn about this process of gaining my health back, so much so, they inspired me to reach outside my basic knowledge and do my own research.

When I took up running a year later in 2006, I began working with a running coach. I spent countless hours reading up on the topic and asking lots of questions. If my coach didn't know the answer, he would find out or he would point me in the direction where I could find the answer. This inspired me to seek my own Running Coach's Certification through the Road Runners Club of America in July 2009.

This year I started studying for my American Council of Exercise Personal Training Certification. I have had to delay some of my studying due to many family obstacles, but my goal for 2011 is to take the exam so that I can help others better understand the process of embracing healthy habits.

There is an old saying that reads, "there is never a dumb question, but a question that was never asked." I am slowly learning that asking questions is not a character flaw. If I knew everything there is to know than I would never be where I am in my life at this moment in time. For me education is what has allowed me to let go of the diet mentality I was stuck in for well over 30 years and learn that I am truly an experiment of one.

Have you ever been afraid to ask for help? Do you believe education is a key role in letting go of the diet mentality?

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ARNETTELEE 11/10/2019
thanks Report
PATRICIAANN46 8/13/2019
Thank You...………. Report
MUSICNUT 6/16/2019
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
_CYNDY55_ 6/1/2019
Thanks Report
EO4WELLNESS 5/18/2019
No. Report
Thank you for the information. Report
That is one area that I am still working on Report
Thank you for making me ask myself..."Why not you?" Why not learn MORE than be HAPPY with 70 pound weight loss! Yes...I have obstacles...but I am taller than I SHOULD be able to get over them easier! I always tell me spark team that INSPIRATION and LEARNING can come at unusual times in non-traditional places...THANKS for giving me some today! Report
I am always afraid to ask for help, its as if I do not want to admit I cannot do something on my own and I do not want to burden someone else with my request for help. Thank you for writing this! Love the quote! Report
Asking for help is thy hardest thing, next to knowing what I truly need. Report
This is my problem! I hate admitting that I am wrong or do not know something. It is a hard lesson to learn on your own. I have got to recognize this as well. Report
Last Friday I was sick. I was to weak and in pain to go to the kitchen to heat myself some soup and get some water so I called a friend who has a key and asked if she would please come to help me. I prefaced that with the sentence of, "I'm really sorry, this may sound stupid but.." I don't know why I started that way. I should not be sorry when admitting I need help since we all do once in a while. I've always believed there are no dumb questions and have not been afraid to ask. Report
I try to always remember that if you have any question the chances are great that someone else has the same question. Another thing is that people like to be asked questions and for help! Dont you?

very thoughtful. Report
Excellent blog. Thanks Report
I never used to be afraid to ask for help at school, but as I've got older I have definitely become far more fearful of asking, speaking too. I always get so het up and the words come out and seem to fly all over the place; jabbering wreck is the first thing that comes to mind and I hate it.

However, with the internet and talking to so many friends via Forums etc, I am amazed how easily I can 'talk', I can 'ask' things as well. I would never tell anyone, in real life, all that I've just told all those viewing this article! Sometimes even with family if I'm the only person saying something and know they're all looking at me (only natural in a way, I again start to stutter and go red - all I want to do is leave the room!! I'm fine with my dear husband, but always on my guard with anyone else - apart from my 5 Grandkiddies. Kiddies always take me for being "Granny", I hope with all my heart I don't clam up when they grow up!

Thank you, Nancy for the article and for the chance to tell how I am in the hope that others like me might not feel it's them alone. Report
Like everything there's a balance. There are those that would rather ask for help early and have someone else do the work than do it themselves. Not asking for help and trying it yourself first shows strength and determination but knowing when to ask for help shows wisdom. Report
Education is the key to almost anything we do in life.

I'm a voracious reader and I'll always remember what a teacher told some kids who were resisting learning to read. She told them that first, you learn to read. Then, you are in control because you can read to learn.

I know so many things because I took the time to research things that intrigued me, things that were just cool to know, and trivia.

When people ask me what I know, I tell them I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little.

Just because you get older is NOT a reason to quit learning.

There are times in your life that you will struggle. You may lose your job, but NO ONE can take your knowledge away. Report
I don't think I am "afraid" to ask for help. Its just really difficult to do. Because you see, I'm the one that is usually doing the helping. Being an elementary school counselor, I am needed a lot to help the children deal with whatever is going on in their lives. We know that research says, "You can't teach 'em, 'til you reach 'em." So, if there is a problem standing in the way of school success, then the counselor is the one called in for help. But who counsels the counselor? That's often the problem. Report
I'm brand new to the site. I know I need help because I've been unable to do it myself for years. Even when I sought help from other sources I "kept a low profile" - didn't share or ask questions. I also did not tell anyone my goals in case I failed.
We are often very hard on ourselves & think we should be able to go it alone. This is unrealistic thinking but a hard habit to break. I have a lot of work ahead of me. But now I am admitting I need help & know where to find it. Report
It took me a long time to learn this lesson, that it is okay to ask for help and behind that, that it is okay not to already know all the answers. Report
Never been afraid to ask for help when I don't understand! Report
For myself, I learn better if I do something myself; but I don't want to waste time and will ask if I get stumped. Thank you for sharing. Report
There are certainly times that I am hesitant to ask for help of others. I like to try and do things by myself first and if I do not find a solution, I do go and ask for help. I figure that if I can't get it, why waste extra time that could be used for something else. I have gotten better at asking for help, but first I have to try hard myself. Report
I haven't conditioned myself to stop and come here for support before eating the extra whatever. I need to come up with a way to do that. Report
I always asked a lot of questions, and still do. I love coming to SparkPeople for answers! Congratulations on your achievements! And thank you for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. Report
I guess I am afraid but I think it is more that I refuse to look at things differently. I remember struggling a few years ago to be less stubborn. Well it seems to be rearing it's head again. I know there's help here but in places where I still hold deep dark secrets it might go wanting a bit. I'm not even sure about all my beliefs around this because my parents so inculcated us with stand on your own two feet as well as,'I have more important things to do'. Well, this is another example of the depth of learning I can gain here at Spark People. Bring it on! Report
I have always been afraid to ask and probably always will be because as a child too many times I was made to look stupid for asking about things that I knew was right or was told that I really didn't need to know what I was asking about. If I don't know and can not find out on my own I just consider it not important and tell myself to move on. Report
I do struggle at times with asking for help. This time, though, I enlisted my husband as my diet coach. He has always been supportive but we had never before made a formal arrangement. He specializes in cognitive behavioral psychology so he is great for helping me examine and correct my thinking in order to reach my diet and exercise goals. Because of how much extra time it takes to really establish healthy habits, I have gone a step further and asked him to take on some extra responsibilities so that I have more time. It's wonderful to feel like I have an ally within my own home. Of course, sometimes that means hearing things I don't want to hear... but that's the whole point, I think. Report
When I was a child I was the one who was never without a question and who always stayed after school to help and just visit with the teacher. Since that time I rarely do a large project without getting input first. I may go my own way with the thing after all, but it's important to me to have lots of resource material at my fingertips.

I agree: There is no dumb question. The only dumb thing here is NOT asking the question. It makes the other person feel important and an expert. It's a win-win.

There have been lots of times I've asked for help but didn't get it. So, I quit asking. Then I try to go on my own. I struggle. Sometimes I'm able to do it. Sometimes I do part of it but don't or can't finish. Sometimes I don't or can't even get started. I really could use the help and support of others but when I'm in the midst of trying to get things done myself, I tend to tune others out and not check back in to see where everybody is at much less think to ask for help for fear of not getting it again. Report
Thank you very much for your post. I'm still new to this site, and the amount of information and resources is overwhelming. Now I know the best places to go if I need to ask for help! Report
Asking for help always seems to me to be admiting you have failed. It is hard to change this habit but thanks to Spark site I am changing. Report
In the past it was difficult for me to ask for help. Now I do so when I don't understand and things are more easily understood. I wish I started this long ago when I was very young. I will encourage my kids to ask questions at a young age. There is no shame in asking a question. Report
It was so hard for me to ask for help the first time and even the second. But, with asking questions I have learned a great deal. I do not lose sleep on things that I do not understand. Asking questions also helps me understand others point of view.

I feel that no question is a dumb question even if you have to ask it twice. Report
Where can I find a running coach? And how much do they normally cost? Report
I didn't learn to ask for help until I became a nurse. Knowing that someone could die if I didn't ask was my big motivator. Unfortunately, I still have trouble asking for help when it comes to my own life. Report
Interesting post... Asking for help is something I still find difficult. Although, I must admit from the title I thought the blog was going to have a different focus. (Valuable nonetheless!)

I think it is one thing to not to know the answer to something and seek out an expert/mentor/someone more knowledgable. And just admitting that you don't know something can be difficult enough.

Where I thought this blog was going to talk about was about asking for help when you *can't* do something alone not just when you don't know how. There are some things that I can't do or can't do well and never will be able to... and I have found wonderful friends and colleagues who can do those things. Not as a crutch... not as an excuse not to do something. I have things that I do much better than they do and I'm glad to trade for a share of that load. Giving that help is easy, asking for it is a bit more daunting.

And back to this blog, there's so much of our world that values us for what we know (e.g., the workplace) that it's hard sometimes to say "i don't know." Even the expression "admit" when you don't know something points to the viewpoint that one should know these things. But it's a valuable lesson to learn how to put that aside and celebrate those who know more about something you want to learn about and tap into that knowledge. These exchanges are how we all grow.

Thanks for the blog ! Report
i need to get to know someone before i am able to open up to anybody i am going to try to open up more Report
Very inspirational. Report
It takes me a long while to ask for help. I try to figure things out on my own mostly before asking. I always have the mindset that everyone expects me to know right from the beginning which is stupid because you don't absorb everything automatically but that's how my mind works.

I did my own reading. Report
I have been afraid to ask for help for fear of looking stupid. But in my last class (I'm in grad school) I finally got the courage to ask the professor where he got some of the numbers used in the solution to the homework problem. It turned out he was using a problem from an older version of the textbook with different numbers! So the class ended up starting all over and going through the solution step by step with the correct numbers, which really helped me understand the concepts. Report
WOW! I thought I was the only one who had this problem. I vividly remember asking my father 45 years ago when I was 10 for help. Don't remember the exact problem, but his response still rings in my ears: "Don't bother me! (his usual repsonse to anything except food). Why did you start it if you couldn't finish it? You can't do anything! (also common). Don't even try cause you'll just mess everything up!"
At work, have been late on several projects because was afraid to ask for advice or help. It is very hard to unlearn these old habits. We have to remember that our authority figures growing up (parents, teachers, pastors, etc) were NOT alway right.
THANK YOU for sharing! This is one of the many great things about Spark- it is not just for diet and exercise. It is for your whole life- physically, mentally and emotionally.
You have captured me to a T. I have always had trouble asking personal questions. The Message Board has been a lifesaver. Report
I have asked several questions since I have been on Spark. I don't really have a problem with asking..... By the way, thanks for all the answers! Report
I know what you're talking about. I always thought I was "supposed" to be self-sufficient and take care of myself. I thought of it as a weakness having to ask for help. However, in the last couple of years, I have asked for, accepted, and given help. It has definitely changed my life for the better.

For example, my "office" was really a messy storage room. I met a colleague, who has since become a friend, who is a personal organizer. She spent many hours helping me clean out, re-arrange and organize my space. I am sitting in it now--it has become my office. I also helped her with her makeup and image.

It is still not second nature for me to ask for and accept help. However, this posting has inspired me and I will definitely ask for more help, particularly on this web site.

Thank you. Report
I'm exactly the same way. I never ask for help... even now. I started a new job and - for the most part - have taught myself a lot of things because I'm scared to ask questions. It's especially scary for me to ask men questions... which makes it tough when your boss and the supervisor directly under you, are both men.

I've never thought it was a character flaw or anything to ask questions, but it all goes back to my dad yelling at me for asking questions. Report
When I was young, back in the Dark Ages, I used to feel that asking for help from a tutor was a sign that I was dumb. Well, turns out I WAS dumb for not asking for help !!! My attitude towards tutors didn't change until I was in college. I had a couple of classes I was failing miserably and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Well, I decided to advantage of the tutors that offered help. Needless to say, as a result of getting tutored, I didn't fail the class. I didn't get the A either, but that was okay. I learned that asking for help from a tutor was not a sign that I was stupid. the fact is, I became a much better student after I asked for help.

Today, while I'll try to figure out a problem on my own first, if I need help, I will ask for it.

I've always had trouble opening up and asking for help! I'm afraid to tell anyone my goals, because if I don't meet them then everyone will think I'm a failure. I'm starting to open up more and ask for advice, but it's still really hard for me. Report