Why is it So Hard to Ask for Help?
Jenn Otsuki
April 20, 2021
May 3, 2021
Be Inspired

I used to wish I was an octopus. At least that’s what I would spout to the cashier at Target who would look at me like I had 6 eyes instead of 8 arms while frantically attempting to scoop up all of my belongings. While the goal was to prove I could do it all on my own, that signature confused look would make me feel more like I was bursting at the seams. 

I was recently reminded of the importance of asking for help (and how hard it can be to ask) when I came across this sentiment - “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?” “Ask for help.”

Jenn and her inspiration
Quote from "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse." by Charles Macksey

This sounds simple but for many of us, asking for help is not easy because it starts with admitting that you need it. Even though you can accomplish so much on your own and carry the weight of the world, you don’t have to; When you reach out and grab a hand, the relief and hope that comes with that offer of help allows us to keep going.. 

My struggle with asking for help reminds me of a time when I had no choice but to ask for help. On a trip to Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, the guides taught us to link hands with our fellow excursionists to  help each other up a plunging waterfall. It was an engulfing and beautiful experience of blind trust in strangers built on human connection and the willingness to ask for help. As I stumbled over slippery stones I found myself led by a neighbor who just got over that hurdle and is simultaneously lifting you up. The ultimate trust fall.  

Like in life, It isn’t about who is stronger or faster, it’s a shining example of strength in community.  I realized when I go through life trying to do it all on my own, I am just one misstep away from wishing I had asked for support. 

The best part about reaching out for help is giving help in return. My biggest lesson over the last year has been when I lean on others to find strength, I found rewarding opportunities to pay it forward. I went through an emotional whirlwind of losing a job I loved while going through a divorce and the passing of my beloved Grandmother. All in a short time period! I would vacillate between not knowing I needed help to believing I wasn’t worthy of it. Subsequently I began to feel very alone in my climb. In the midst of my suffering, my good sense was cloudy, and I began to believe I deserved to be washed away in the angst.  

Now that I have made it through the storm, I reflect on my experiences like this where leaning on friends and family is what helped me to move through the darkness. It truly does take a village. I have since decided that if I could wish myself into an octopus, it would be so I could reach out and help others up the waterfall.

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