The feminist movement gave women many gifts. Whatever your opinion about “women’s lib,” most efforts to achieve equality and independence have been helpful. Women can vote, own property and enjoy a wide range of legal and financial freedoms. Women truly have come out of the shadows and chosen to take off their invisibility cloaks.
At the same time, in part because of this movement, many of us were affected by the call to be “strong women.” It shaped our views of the world and made us self-reliant. We learned to do things by ourselves and how to survive, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Our parents told us “you can be anything you want to be,” and we set out to meet their expectations – with help from no-one!
This attitude of self-confidence is a good thing on many levels. It encouraged us to learn new skills, push boundaries, get ahead and be successful. On the other hand, many of us developed a fear of asking for help. In particular, we told ourselves that we did not need a man… ever. We could manage just fine by ourselves, thank you very much. Now, we are a little older, and perhaps, a little more vulnerable. And, to be honest, we sometimes could do with a little help!
Sharing your fears is half the battle, so, I asked the Sixty and Me Community “Do you have trouble asking for help?” The responses were poignant and honest. It turns out that asking for help is harder than I thought.
We don’t want to feel helpless or be a burden. We are afraid of rejection. We feel guilty having to admit we need help.
The answers, including my own, made we realize there is room for re-thinking our definition of independence. In my opinion, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. At a fundamental level, the fear of asking for help holds us back from building relationships of trust. We need this at any age, but particularly as we get older. It is my view that admitting vulnerability is a positive thing.
Asking for help really is a sign of strength at any age. To get help you sometimes have to swallow your pride and just ask. By doing this, you also give someone an opportunity to shine. Allowing them to share their strength and skills is a gift you give them as well.
How about you? Do you have a fear of asking for help? Please join the conversation.