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Stop Feeling Guilty About Asking for Help

Stop Feeling Guilty About Asking for Help

I am so glad I decided to extend last week’s book club into this week, because I am absolutely loving Brene Brown’s Rising Strong. It is challenging me personally on so many levels, and I have really enjoyed taking my time and soaking up the words as I read through it slowly.

“Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving. We need to give, and we need to need.”

I scoped about this quote yesterday in-depth, because it hit me SO hard this week. When I first read this quote, I thought to myself, “Need to need?” That seemed almost strange to me at first, until I really started reflecting on it.

I was raised by parents who modeled what it means to be a giver. I’m so grateful my parents taught me how to be a servant.

As a result, though, I saw firsthand how draining it can be when people are always needing and taking and asking and are never giving back in any way. I told myself I didn’t want to ever be that person who was constantly taking and needing.

So what did I do? I swung the pendulum to the other side. I decided I wanted to always be the giver — the solutions girl, the girl who has her act together, the girl who is always pouring into other people.

I became what Brene Brown describes as an over-functioner: “Over-functioners say ‘I won’t fail. I will do. I don’t need help. I help.‘” 

Why We Need to Stop Feeling Guilty About Asking for Help

I don’t like to feel needy. And if I admit I’m struggling, I usually feel like I am letting people down or being a needy person.

I’m slowly learning, though, that it is equally as important to ask for help, and that letting people into our lives and struggles and needs is a gift we can give to them. It’s being real, vulnerable, authentic, and human.

Chapter 8 of Rising Strong on needing to need really hit home for me in this area.

When was the last time you asked someone to help you?

This is a question I had to ask myself and be honest about. You see — the past few weeks have been a really difficult time for me, personally. There have been some issues going on with situations that I can’t talk about publicly that have left me feeling overwhelmed, hurt, frustrated, sad, and a whole host of other emotions.

I’ve wanted to keep it all together and be okay, but it’s been SO heavy, and it’s been hurting pretty badly. There have been many days when I walked around feeling on the verge of tears — and I’m not usually one to be super emotional or cry.

Stop Feeling Guilty About Asking for Help

On Sunday, I shared with my community group a little bit of what’s been going on and asked for prayer. On Monday night, I did the same with out Monday Group. In both cases, those there just cared and listened and prayed for us.

And I’m so grateful. But honestly, it was hard for me to do that, and I came away from it feeling like I was some sort of needy, drama queen. I was wondering if I should have shared and thinking maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, until I read this chapter and was re-reminded that it’s okay to need help sometimes.

“When you judge yourself for needing help, you judge those who are helping. When you attach value to giving help, you attach value to needing help. The danger of tying yourself worth to being a helper is feeling shame when you have to ask for help. Offering help is courageous and compassionate, but so is asking for help.”

Wow. If we act like we never need help, it’s almost a sign or value we wear…”I don’t need help. I’m the person who helps.

I’ve been saying this my entire life. But the truth is that we all need to need, and there are times in our lives when we all need help.Stop Feeling Guilty About Asking for Help

“In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, asking for help can be shaming if we’re not raised to understand how seeking help is human and foundational to connection.”

Vulnerability and honesty leads to trust within relationships. It’s important not to be afraid to share your struggles with those closest to you, and I am learning to be better about this as I embrace authentic friendships.

“The bottom line is that we need each other, and not just the civilized, proper, convenient kind of need. Not one of us gets through this life without expressing desperate, messy, and uncivilized need — the kind we are reminded of when we come face to face with someone who is in a deep struggle.”

Just recently, one of my friends was in a really traumatic situation. When I called her up to see how she was doing, she immediately broke down into ugly sobs.

In that moment, I didn’t think, “Oh, what a needy person.” Instead, my heart broke for her and it actually knit my heart closer to hers because of her willingness to be honest and vulnerable with me.

My challenge for you today:

Do you need to ask for help, instead of being frustrated or hurt because nobody is giving it? Or do you maybe need to ask someone if/how you can help them?

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27 Comments

  • Kay says:

    I’m not reading the book, but I found this post to be very helpful and encouraging. May the Lord give you grace through this time of difficulty.

  • Nicole says:

    I have not yet started to read the book, but not only was this post encouraging, but it also reminded me that it IS ok to ask for help. I’m the type of person that absolutely refuses to ask for help in any fashion. I want to do everything by myself. I find that sometimes I am too prideful and feel that when I do have to ask for help, I’ve left myself down.

    Just this week, I got a message from a friend asking what size clothes my daughter wore and wondered if I would be willing to take the clothes she had. My first thought was No, but I pushed that pride aside and accepted the donation from her. I’m a single mom barely making it, and my daughter is in need of winter clothes, that I just can’t afford to buy her, so this little message just lifted a heavy burden. After my daughter is through with the clothes, I plan on passing them down to another person in need. I have a deep desire to help others, especially since I’ve received so much help the past couple of years myself.

    Thank you again for this beautiful post. I love your heart and your desire to be a giver.

  • Christine says:

    Crystal Paine, you are such a blessing to so many people! You have a beautiful heart and I’m just loving your scopes. They are much-needed encouragement. I am so thankful for your courage to be vulnerable and for your example to push through all the sometimes scary feelings of insecurity… because we are the benefactors of your gift. So, thank you. 🙂

    p.s. purple is a great color on you!

  • Tara G. says:

    Romans 1:11-12 has been a challenge to me – when I am around other believers, am I alert to spoken and unspoken needs that I can encourage through our common faith and my spiritual gifts and natural talents? Conversely, am I humble enough to be authentic in sharing needs and accepting them being met? And, am I extending that sincerity to anyone else in my sphere of influence – no matter if the time we interact is relatively short or extended for a longer time? {Also, there is no substitution for some face to face time.} I want to fulfill the ministry God has given me and would desperately love it if others would do the same (Colossians 4:17).

    Keep on encouraging, Crystal- your heart is very much appreciated!

  • Libby says:

    Crystal, thanks for modeling vulnerability and for walking the talk. Your honesty is refreshing and so inspiring. Holding you in my heart and praying that the load feels lighter for you soon. xo

  • Darcy Hicks says:

    I loved this post and your scopes about it. Lots to ponder on those statements from Brene Brown. I think for so long I’ve always been the one to help, but in recent months my family has had to be on the receiving end. It’s hard and humbling but I am learning that sometimes it’s OK to be the one in need.

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Kelli says:

    We need to allow people love us and help us. It’s prideful not to. I know it’s my stubborn pride and arrogance to only give and never receive. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Sarah C says:

    I can’t wait to read this book. I’m so glad you are posting about it. I put it on my Goodreads list. 🙂

  • Tam Hodge says:

    “I came away from it feeling like I was some sort of needy, drama queen.”

    Oh friend… not. even. ever. You gave us a blessing by sharing. Thank you for that.

    We love you so big.

  • Linsley says:

    What an awesome article about humility, such an under appreciated virtue! It takes a village!?

  • Davonne says:

    Thank you for your openness. I’m so sorry you’ve been having a difficult time – you’re doing amazing works and making a huge difference in the lives of so many.

  • Charlotte says:

    Thank you, Crystal!! That was such a good and timely word. It’s so hard to ask for help. I had asked my women’s church ministry for help to clothe a foster child that came into my care. I was mentally tired of clothing children over and over and over and over. For the longest time I have been kicking myself about asking for help until I read your post. I felt guilty for asking for help because I knew I could have clothed the child myself……I thought I was being selfish, but just the knowledge of knowing that others would help when I felt so discouraged— lifted a great burden off me mentally. I am praying for you regarding how the things you are dealing with……… I pray that God lift you up and comfort you. Funny thing is the verse on my bible app today says blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Jesus is right there in the depths of our sorrow.

  • Swapna says:

    Loved reading this. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time.

    For me, the hardest part of asking for help has always the fear of being rejected. I was rejected a few times and every time since, it’s just been very hard to ask for help. Instead I bury everything inside of me which is really not very healthy.

  • Kadee says:

    By needing, you are allowing someone else to give. That person may be blessed by having the opportunity to give. I

  • Jill says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart and for introducing me to this book! I definitely need to read it.
    Praying for you during this difficult time. Thank you for the hope and inspiration you offer to me!

  • Amy says:

    If we didn’t need help, God would have never sent us “The Helper”, the Holy Spirit. However, it’s easy for me to say these words; I never want to ask for help or admit a need. I too am sorry you are going through a difficult time but rest assured, God is using it for good for you and because of your faithfulness, we are also getting the good out of it. Thank you that you are allowing yourself to be real.

  • I am so sorry that you are going through some rough times right now! Wish I could do more than offer a prayer for you and just to let you know that so many people, including myself, care about you and wish the best for you. I hope this passes quickly 🙂

  • We are all just walking each other home.
    I love this thought and it helps me to remember that we are all just doing the best that we can.
    I’m sure those that you “needed” were blessed.

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. I am that person who never asks for help but then again I have no one to ask. I don’t have any family nearby and I have one friend who works and is extremely busy with her own life that I’d feel real bad to ask for help from. I wish we did live closer to family I would definitely ask for help! Homeschooling mom of 3 boys, wife to veteran and owner of 2 dogs!

  • Kandice says:

    What a wonderful message. To be a blessing by both giving and asking for help. I am sharing this as a devotional at our church’s monthly board meeting this week. So often those that lead struggle with asking for help. I hope this message speaks to them as it did me.

  • Jr says:

    Thanks for sharing. This really encouraged me. I am thankful for friends who have helped me in my college days. These days I strive to be a mentor and give whatever I can to bless someone.

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