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I’m always eager to help other people. But expressing my needs and asking for help myself? That’s a different story. And I’m not alone in that.

As Margaret Brady writes for Verily, we often struggle to ask for help because there’s an element of shame involved. We’re afraid of being needy, or of being perceived as such. We don’t want people to worry about us or to feel our pain. Citing Brené Brown, Brady also describes the element of blame: we want to believe that bad things happen to “those people,” not to us, and creating some kind of blame helps create distance between us and them—and also makes us reluctant to identify as people who need help.

“The truth is, there are only two questions to ask to determine if you qualify for assistance,” Brady writes. “Are you a human being? And do you have a problem you can’t solve on your own? Congratulations: you are worthy. You deserve help.”

My struggle with asking for help usually involves wanting my husband to take the kids so I can get some work done. He’s always happy to help: “Just tell me what you need,” he’s said time and again. And yet, time and again, I’ve tried to push through on my own.

But then I read something that completely changed my perspective, and it moved me to communicate more needs and ask for help more confidently.


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