You're Not a Burden - Ask for Help

Are you one of those people who doesn't hesitate to help others, but who finds it really difficult to ask for help yourself? If this is your case, there are a series of lessons that'll help you become aware that you also deserve support, understanding, and a helping hand.
You're Not a Burden - Ask for Help
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 04 March, 2024

As children, we were taught the need to be brave. We were convinced that there was no need to be afraid of the dark, that strong people don’t cry, and that there’s no better value than self-sufficiency. Indeed, our society implicitly instills in us that asking for help and leaning on the shoulders of others is something undesirable that only the weak do.

In reality, most of us have a curious cognitive dissonance installed in our minds. It’s the kind that makes us feel satisfied when we help others but mortifies us to ask for anything from those around us. In effect, we see vulnerability as a threat and we find it extremely difficult to say out loud that we’re wrong and need support.

As human beings, we’re mainly dominated by an independent mentality that convinces us that we must do things by ourselves. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. However, at those times when life really weighs us down, it’s vitally important to know how to say “I’m sick, help me”. In fact, it’s an act of responsibility.

We all need to get better at a skill that can save our lives: asking for help.

Teenage girl who needs phrases that will convince you to ask for help
It’s important that children and adolescents learn as soon as possible that asking for help is normal and necessary.

Seven phrases to convince you to ask for help

Many children are afraid to say out loud to their teacher that they haven’t understood something. That’s because they’re afraid of being teased by their classmates. Therefore, if we’re afraid to ask for help, it’s because, from a really early age, we’ve internalized that doing so suggests incompetence. Also, it can put us at a disadvantage in front of others.

However, most people are happy to help others. Indeed, a study conducted by Oxford University (UK) explains that acts of kindness make us feel good. The simple fact of telling someone that we’re going through a bad time and need their support makes them feel useful, satisfied, and even self-fulfilled.

The problem is that those who are going through difficult times tend to harbor really biased ideas. They assume that there’s a high probability that others will reject their requests, ridicule their suffering, or they’ll be considered to be a nuisance. In fact, many people feed on the idea that they’re burdens and that it’s best not to add more pressure to their immediate environments with their own problems.

We need to deactivate these irrational and harmful ideas. Therefore, if you’re currently going through difficulty, sadness, and discomfort, keep these phrases in mind and ask for help.

One of our biggest concerns is not to burden others with our problems. This idea ends up isolating us until we assume that we don’t deserve others’ help.

1. It’s brave to ask for help, not to pretend you’re okay

Most societies celebrate the image of independence, determination, and efficiency. From childhood, you’re made to believe that a hero solves all their own problems without anyone’s help. But, you must be careful with this idea because it’s both false and counterproductive.

As a matter of fact, a brave person leans on others, asks for what they need, and doesn’t hesitate in recognizing their limits and difficulties. There’s not an ounce of cowardice in those who give up and ask for shelter, affection, and the guidance of others.

2. You’re not a burden, you’re loved

When darkness and hopelessness embrace you, it’s often really difficult to see the light of the ‘lighthouse people’, those who are there for you at all times. But they’re there, next to you, in the form of your partner, your friends, and your family. So remember, there are many figures who love you and for whom you’re not a burden. They love you and you’re an essential part of their lives.

3. You can’t do it alone, but with the help of others you’ll find the strength you need

Maybe, throughout your life, you’ve been used to solving every one of your problems, concerns, and challenges yourself. What’s more, you may have always been the helping hand for others and a shoulder for them to cry on. So you have shoulders that carry everything and a mind that solves everything. But, who helps and cares for you?

You must integrate into your heart and brain that the time has come to understand that you alone can’t handle this. You need to understand that, with the assistance of others, you’ll find the strength you need. This should be enough to convince you to ask for help.

4. Being vulnerable doesn’t make you fallible, it makes you human

Allowing yourself to accept your vulnerability is a basic survival exercise. Dr. Brené Brown, professor and researcher at the University of Houston (USA) claims that this dimension facilitates love, belonging, and even courage.

You’re not an invulnerable being or a superhero of impregnable strength. You’re a human being, made of flesh, bones, emotions, and needs. Being vulnerable is part of your essence. Therefore, feeling this way doesn’t make you fallible. In fact, it makes it easier for you to connect with others.

5. Feeling afraid is normal

Fear, restlessness, shame, indecision, anguish… The act of revealing to others that you’re not well and that you need support fills you with difficult emotions. However, you should know that this is a universal sensation. Indeed, we’ve all experienced it at some time, and feeling it doesn’t make you different or flawed in any way. It’s a universal experience.

You must accept your feelings and move on. Don’t hesitate to honestly tell someone close to you that “Right now, I feel really scared, but I know I’m wrong and I need your support”.

Woman thinking while her boyfriend hugs her symbolizing the phrases that will convince you to ask for help
There are people who love you and are there to help you and be your refuge when the world hurts you.

6. Nobody is going to judge you

Those who love you don’t judge you. They see you as part of themselves, so they won’t criticize you or question your words and needs. You must deactivate the irrational ideas that feed your indecision and the constant belief that they won’t understand you. They will. That’s because affection is understanding and nothing is more important for those who are part of your life than being your ally, your refuge, and your indisputable support.

7. Everything will look so much better when you ask for help.

You may find it hard to believe right now. That’s because, when you’re suffering, you feel hopeless and you’re dominated by grief. Consequently, it’s really hard to believe that things can be solved. However, they will. The pain you feel now is temporary. Nothing lasts forever. Moreover, when you ask for help you’ll realize that an immense burden has been released. The one that was preventing you from breathing.

So, don’t hesitate. Stop thinking about it and seek out those people who form the cornerstone of your daily life. They love you and you’re important to them so you shouldn’t have any doubts or reluctance about asking them for help. After all, you’d do anything for them, so now it’s time for them to do something for you. You must be brave and put a stop to your suffering.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Curry, Oliver & Rowland, Lee & Van Lissa, Caspar & Zlotowitz, Sally & Mcalaney, John & Whitehouse, Harvey. (2018). Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 76. 10.1016/j.jesp.2018.02.014.
  • Flynn, F. J., & Lake, V. K. B. (2008). If you need help, just ask: Underestimating compliance with direct requests for help. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(1), 128–143.
  • Miller, D. T. (1999). The norm of self-interest. American Psychologist, 54(12), 1053–1060.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.