Asking for Help
About 6 months ago, I found myself feeling overwhelmingly clueless about where to begin with my dream of opening my own private practice.
As it turns out, starting your own therapy office is a lot like starting therapy… in that I had no idea how to begin or where to go. I knew I had to ask for advice from other mental health counselors who have their own practices already and that was DAUNTING.
Why is asking for help so hard? What is so difficult about admitting to someone that we are struggling and need direction?
There is an article I like that breaks down 5 common fears we have about asking for help and ways to overcome them. You can read that article here. I am going to give my own answer to this question, as well as add a Christian perspective that explains why and how we can drop these fears and embrace asking for help as the gift that God intended it to be.
A thought I often have when I am struggling with a problem is, “I should be able to figure this out on my own.” This is not an uncommon expectation we put on ourselves and I personally got away with this way of thinking for a long time. Sometimes I could push myself so hard that I actually did think I managed to figure it out on my own (only to have the same problem pop up again later – surprise!). Regardless, I kept moving forward, but I did not realize that as I did so I was accumulating some good old fashioned shame.
Shame is different from guilt. Guilt informs us that a way in which we have behaved does not align with our values, making us feel bad, but willing to take action to right the wrong. Shame, on the other hand, tells us that we are bad. Guilt comes and goes, while shame stays. It seeps into the core of our very being. It whispers into our subconscious, “These issues you have are so bad that you cannot tell anyone about them because they will see you differently.” Shame is a tool of the devil.
When we listen to shame, we wind up alone, isolated, and afraid. We may even have things we feel so ashamed about that we try to hide them from God. During these times, it would benefit us to remember that there is no need to hide from the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. If you are talking to God about your problems that you feel ashamed about, that is great! But some of us stop there and this may not be enough…
I am not saying that God is not enough! Of course, He is. He gave us the ultimate healer, His son. Jesus asked for God’s help a lot while He was on Earth. He also asked for human help sometimes (though we did not always deliver – consider the disciples falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane when they were supposed to be keeping watch).
Jesus instructed us to, “Love one another,” (John 13:34). In other words, “Help each other!” We do not have to figure it out ourselves! God designed us to function and flourish in connection with one another. We were made to ask for and receive help. There is no shame in it.
What a joy it is to be free from the expectation to heal ourselves! What a blessing it is that Christ gave us each other to help with our healing!
You have probably by now guessed where I am going with this and yes, I would love to respond to your request for help with a mental health problem you are facing. Contact me today! 😉
But I am not just after your business! My hope is that my words inspire you to be unashamed in asking for help in your everyday interactions as well. So let us go out and be bold this week in asking for help! You may be surprised by the responses you get. Feel free to reach out and share your experiences with me – I would be thrilled to read about them!
Yours in Christ,