How to Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness

Two Methods:Overcoming Prideful or Flawed ThinkingLearning to Ask for Help

While it may sound simple enough, accepting help is something that is extremely challenging for all of us at one time or another. It can be especially hard for those of us who believe that seeking help undermines our independence and our ability to cope. However, by refusing to accept help, we disregard the fact that we are social beings who need to cooperate with one another in order to thrive. It's possible to change your thinking and become more receptive to help in the future.

Method 1
Overcoming Prideful or Flawed Thinking

  1. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 1
    Decide if you are worried about what others will think. There are many possible reasons that might be influencing your reluctance to seek help from others. One is your concern about how others view you. Some of the following reasons might be applicable to you:[1]
    • You may feel that you don't need help, or that any person offering help is threatening your independence. For example, maybe you have had to look out for yourself since an early age due to neglectful parents. Now, you believe suddenly accepting help from others makes you weak.
    • Perhaps, it was instilled in you that an adult or someone your age must take responsibility for himself. As a result, you believe it is socially wrong to ask (or to be a burden) to friends and family for assistance.
    • You may battle with fears of rejection or have a tendency to towards perfectionism. Both motivations can cause you to avoid accepting help for fear of failing or being seen as a failure.
    • If you're a business owner or professional, you may be worried that needing help can demonstrate a lack of professionalism. Consequently, you might feel that someone not handling his own affairs is inferior or incompetent.
  2. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 2
    Move beyond your need for outside approval. Believing that others will judge you or reject you may be interfering with your ability to seek help when you need it. Learn to not internalize judgments or rejections inflicted on you by others. Fight approval-seeking with self-acceptance.
    • Become more accepting of yourself by recognizing your strengths and celebrating them.[2]When you are aware of your positive characteristics, judgment or rejection from others impacts you less.
    • Write a list of your strongest traits and abilities. Reflect on this list when you are doubtful or your capabilities or when you are worried about gaining approval from others.
  3. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 3
    Kiss your fear of vulnerability good-bye. Not wanting to show vulnerability can cause you to refrain from asking for help. When you think about it, the emotional exposure required to ask another for help can be quite uncomfortable. However, it is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, researchers declare that vulnerability is at the "core" of "meaningful human experience".[3] Here's how to open yourself up to vulnerability:
    • Practice mindfulness as a first step towards embracing moments of vulnerability. Gradually take notice of the physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings that accompany vulnerability.
    • Give yourself love and acceptance. Acknowledge that being vulnerable is hard and takes courage. Applaud yourself for the slightest efforts.
    • Know that being open (and vulnerable) to others deepen the connection and intimacy you share. Choose wisely with whom you exercise vulnerability.
  4. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 4
    Acknowledge how you are reinforcing unrealistic ideals.[4] Sometimes, there are conflicting or reinforcing societal ideals that can make it seem like a weakness to need help. If you understand that these "ideals" are but one among many approaches to living, you might be more likely to seek help when you need it. For example:
    • There is a common theme running through movies, books and even games, that a hero will gain the highest glory if he or she faces impossible problems and magically overcomes them on his or her own. Even historical events have been rewritten to accommodate this unrealistic view of the amazing prowess of leaders throughout time.[5]
    • The problem with this viewpoint is that most heroes and leaders have a lot of helpers and supporters unacknowledged in the wings. As such, comparing yourself with such unrealistic portrayals of heroes or leaders will only bring you unhappiness.
    • Some people have a tendency to think that you should be able to cope alone or to manage without help. Many of us see the world as it "should be" according to very unrealistic standards, as opposed to seeing the world as it actually "is". This isn't healthy thinking in the long-term. Quite often this ideal is reinforced by peer pressure or family views.
  5. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 5
    Realize the detriment you are causing yourself and others. By making yourself aloof from other human beings, you are building an invisible barrier around yourself that wards off the potential for new relationships and friendships.[6]
    • It can be deceptive to think that you can give help and advice but never need to accept it in return. This ultimately just leads to loneliness and despair as it only serves to isolate you from others.
    • Consider reciprocity, think about times you've helped others with your own specialties which can give you confidence in asking others for help or advice in their areas of expertise.
  6. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 6
    Don't be fooled by your own expertise. Being trained in one field of expertise does not provide you with immunity from continuing to seek help from others within that same field or from other people in other fields. Your research, advice and practical skills will be all the better for asking for help from others, as well as gaining access to new methods and ideas.[7]

Method 2
Learning to Ask for Help

  1. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 7
    Don't second-guess yourself. It is possible to start finding pathways to letting others help you.[8] One of the best ways of doing this is to follow your first mind. The minute you have a conscious thought that you are facing something you cannot alone handle, seek out help. Don't take the time to talk yourself out of it.
    • When the thought crosses your mind that you could do with help sorting out a problem - carrying a heavy box, making dinner, working out a work dilemma, etc. - act on it. Decide who you will ask, phrase the request in your head, and go and ask for help.
  2. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 8
    Accept that some people do act out of the kindness of their hearts. If another person is being kind in offering help, accepting it at face value is the first step. Yes, there are people with bad intentions, but there are also those who want to do good by others. Look for those people in the world and stop focusing on the negative.
    • Seek out the goodness in others and restore your faith in humanity. An easy way to do this is by volunteering. Watching others give of themselves selflessly to assist those who are less fortunate is a terrific way to recognize the good in people. Volunteering also helps you to notice how people depend on one another within a community, and how all parts must work together to function as a whole.[9]
  3. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 9
    Be selective about who you ask for help. Choose wisely and carefully. Avoid people who make you feel like a lesser person in any way. Find people you really trust to try out asking for help first. This will allow you to open up bit by bit, and not be exposed to someone who might not do the right thing by you, or who might purposely make you feel weak for asking.
  4. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 10
    Understand the natural dynamic of give and take. In order to get, you need to give. If you keep cutting yourself off from opening up to others, you risk not sharing your skills, talents, and abilities with others in need of help. In helping another person, you cease to focus on yourself. And when you cease to focus on yourself, it is far easier to accept support back from another.
    • In giving of yourself (your time, your listening ear, your love, your care, etc.), you are helping another learn more about you, be able to care for you, and believe that you will reciprocate the attention that they bestow upon you.
    • Beyond receiving anything in return, giving also promotes cooperation, strengthens bonds, boosts feelings of gratitude, and is just downright good for your health.[10]
  5. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 11
    Learn to trust others. In order to receive help, you need to trust the other person and to trust that you're worthy of help (self-respect). This might be the hardest part but it is absolutely vital. Wholesome, accepting, self-assured trust is capable of absorbing rejection, attracting genuine help, and will easily detect the occasional exploitative person. Choosing to trust requires that you:
    • modify your expectations - remember that people are only human and they have both good and bad traits (so do you!)[11]
    • recognize that disappointment, fear, abandonment, and rejection are possible in all relationships
    • find yourself worthy and capable of making wise decisions and being around decent people[12]
  6. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 12
    Beware of undermining your problems.[13] It can be all too easy to dismiss the worth or depth of your own problems.There is no hierarchy of problems, or scale of emotional pain. A problem is a problem, whatever its ease or difficulty. The litmus test is how much it is impacting you negatively and preventing you from moving forward. Belittling your problem as not worthy of being solved only serves to make it even more challenging to cope with.
  7. Image titled Stop Thinking that Accepting Help is a Sign of Weakness Step 13
    Let go of the problems that no one can fix.[14] There lies the greatest strength of all as there is a big difference between "burying" problems in comparison to accepting, forgiving and letting them go. If you need help to do that, really don't be afraid to ask for it.


  • Asking or needing help is wonderful lesson in humility and essential to develop skills of compassion, but also remember that even when you ask for divine help, it is through human hands and hearts that the help comes.
  • More and more we live in a society where people fail to help one another, by not accepting help or denying that we need help we deny other people the opportunity to be giving and kind which perpetuates the degradation of our society.
  • Try swapping skills instead of just asking help, offer something you can do easily in exchange for things you need help with.
  • Understand that by rejecting help even when you need it, you are perpetuating the idea that any trouble or weakness means that a person is less worthy or deserving of help.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Managing Negative Feelings | Philosophy and Religion