Receiving Help as an Act of Generosity

Asking For Help

I’m changing my mind about asking for or accepting help, when I need it. What I learned growing up was be needless/wantless, be self-sufficient, be self-reliant, and never be beholden to anyone. I equated asking for or receiving help as freeloading, a sign of weakness, or of poverty. “Who are you to have needs, with so many other people in the world in much worse need?” That’s how it landed for me, anyway. After 50+ years of living with those rules, I decided it was time to find a better feeling perspective.

So, working with my coach (yep, I have a coach too!), I discovered there is another more satisfying perspective for me to explore about asking for and receiving help.  We all can use some help sometimes. She asked me “how do you feel when you are asked for help by someone else?”  Hmmm.  “Well, generally, I really like being asked to help, sometimes even honored,” I replied. “It feels good to be able to assist someone.”  (BTW, neuroscience calls it the “helper’s high” – actually a chemical buzz from showing kindness or compassion to another.)  Then my coach asked me, “So, doesn’t it follow that if someone offers help I need or if I ask someone for help they, too, might feel good by my allowing and accepting their help?” Great point!

A Coach’s Skillful Guidance

With a coach’s skillful guidance, my new understanding of my assumptions about offering and receiving help is three-fold. First, I feel rebuffed when I offer help and it is declined or ignored, so maybe they do too?  Second, I found that I was fearful of the answer – whether yes or no!  And third, I see how being overly invested in “looking good” as needless/wantless and low-maintenance keeps me from connecting and moving ahead in life.  Ick.  As Joe Weston, author of an amazing new book “Mastering Respectful Confrontation” says, being vulnerable is actually a very powerful place in which to stand.

Okay, there are always exceptions to this.  But in most instances, my own new perspective on receiving help – whether requested or offered – is that accepting help can have outcomes much greater than the help offered.  It can engage connection with another, even when the help is not granted or ultimately received, and it also can be an act of great generosity.

It feels good to share my journey on asking for and receiving help. Thanks for reading this far.  And if any of this resonates with you or brings up some curiosity about your own beliefs, here are some Coach’s Inquiries to mull:


  • Where can you really use some help, big or small, right now?
  • Who do you know who can help you?
  • What might be generous about asking them for help?
  • What if they say “no?”
  • What if they say “yes?”
  • Can you take “yes” for an answer?[/box]

This is a great example of ways in which working with a professional coach can help shift perspectives, to live more powerfully and with greater connection. Why not contact me today to set up a complementary 30 minute consultation call to explore ways that I may be of service?  (You might even want to ask me for help!)


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