Embracing Vulnerability: Why is it hard to ask for help?
Updated: Sep 14
Hey there, sisters!
On a recent girls trip, I experienced a situation that reminded me, it is hard for women of color to ask for help, the experienced checked me and forced me to ask myself, "P, do you allow your friends to help you?" I don't. I want to unpack with you, so this was my experience...
This situation highlights the deep-rooted challenges faced by women of color when it comes to asking for help. Society has often perpetuated the notion that women of color are strong and resilient(black girls in the back saying, IKTR!), and this has been passed down through generations. However, this notion also creates the idea that we shouldn't feel the need to ask for help, which can make it difficult for us to seek support from others.
One reason we have trouble asking for help is fear of weakness. We fear being seen as less capable or competent, and we worry that others will judge us harshly for our perceived shortcomings. Let's not even forget, women in society have historically been in competition with each other, which can make it difficult to trust one another and feel comfortable asking for help.
Sister, I am not your competition.
I am your supporter!
We also fear being a burden, worrying that our requests for help will be an imposition on others and that we will be seen as selfish or demanding.
Asking for help is hard, I know it. I struggle everyday asking for help. And, when I ask for help, I have this nasty habit of apologizing afterwards. "Sorry, I just didn't know what to do."
Super gross!! Thankfully, I have amazing sisters that remind me to not apologize and often will make me pay up for every time I apologize; the bank account is GOING THROUGH IT hunty.
The only way to learn how to allow your friends to pour into you and support you is understanding why you are not letting them. They can't help where they don't know where to. List out your fears on why asking for help is hard. These are mine:
I fear when I ask for help I may be...
too broken, to want to be around
looked at differently
None of my fears have ever been proven true, honestly I try to understand if there has been time where I ever was actually a burden, too broken, or looked at differently. I can't think of a time, but I can think of times where my friends have helped me with no hesitation.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
I have to remind myself daily, that I am not alone. I am not perfect. I am not above anyone-to not ask for help. Being honest with myself, listing out my fears and then listing out what I need help with is a start!
sometimes financial support
help with a responsibility
mental health support
The true test of love and friendship is being there for each other in our most vulnerable moments.
It's time for us to break these harmful cycles and support each other in our struggles. If you are a mentor, older sibling, a parent, etc, you can play such an important role in changing the narrative. Begin by praising young girls and the women close to you, when they ask for help, praise them!
"Good job asking for help!"
"I am proud of you for asking for help."
This will help to create a culture where asking for help is seen as a strength,
not a weakness. I have recently practiced this:
Teaching young girls that asking for help from people they trust is super important. But what about us, we are no longer babies, what do we do? After you complete the above exercises, cancel out your fears, and start building courage to ask your confidants for help.
Asking for help is hard, especially asking help from someone that never offers help or ask for help for themselves. Let's also show each other we need one another. Attempt asking your friends if they need help or support. Extending ourselves can encourage the culture of support. We have to both gain the courage to ask for help, as well as gain courage to offer it.
In conclusion, let's strive to create a supportive community where women of color feel empowered to ask for help and are praised, rather than shamed, for doing so. Let's uplift each other, and help each other overcome the fears and barriers that prevent us from asking for help. Remember, we are sisters, and we are in this together. So the next time you find yourself struggling, don't hesitate to reach out to one another.
Let's break down these barriers and create a new narrative, where it's okay to ask for help, and where women of color are celebrated for their strength, resilience, and vulnerability.
Praying for all the strength and support you need,
Here are some resources by women of color for women of color to help you on your journey:
The Self Love Fix Podcast: EP 71. Why It's Okay to Ask for Help & Support
Have you ever struggled to ask for help at work? With your day to day tasks? When you were going through a hard time? Did asking for help ever make you feel like a burden? If that's you you are NOT going to want to miss this episode, in this episode, we talk alllllll about why it's okay to ask for help and support."
Brown Girl Self-Care Podcast: 4 Surprising Ways You May Have Not Be A Safe Space for Black Women
"Hello Beautiful Black Woman!
Welcome back to the Brown Girl Self-Care Podcast. In today's episode I'm sharing four surprising ways you may have not been a safe space for another Black woman. This episode is not about judgement or blame but about awareness and reflection as we continue leaning into community care and support for one another."
Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
A a self-help book that focuses on developing strong communication skills, building confidence, and trusting one's intuition in order to achieve personal and professional goals. The book provides guidance and exercises to help readers find their unique voice and communicate effectively in various situations.
Vulnerability and Strength: Black Mothers Raising Free Black Girls
Article Link: Here
Excerpt from article:
"Sherrie, a 42-year old mother of two Black girls (13 and 8 years old), asserted:
I push through because of them[her kids]. However, this can be a double-edged sword because there are times that “pushing through” causes significant stress that impacts my relationships with others. I recognize that I have to be vulnerable. Asking for help when I need it has been a life saver for me. Knowing that I can’t be everything to everybody has been healing..."