I recently did a poll on Instagram asking what you wanted to know when learning how to ask for help as a nice girl. The answers I got felt so personal that I knew I needed to discuss them on the podcast.
When it comes to asking for help, we’re scared that it will color how other people look at us and even how we look at ourselves. I knew it had to be discussed in detail because when you spend time worrying about how you view yourself or change how other people think, it’s like fighting a losing battle.
In this episode, I’ll discuss the two reasons that learning how to ask for help has been challenging and what action steps you can take to overcome them.
“I don’t want to feel less independent.”
I feel this on a deeply personal level. I grew up in a trailer without running water or heat and on Food Stamps. The scarcity mindset took hold of me when I was young, and I actively have to work through it to this day. Back then, I was afraid of the government changing the eligibility rules and running out of food.
When I became an adult, independence was the name of the game. I aspired to be independent all my life, and anytime I needed help, it was like that new independent identity became threatened.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that being independent of any help didn’t mean that I was any safer (or even better off than anyone else). It was the thoughts I had about independence. More specifically, the definition of independence I used.
My former definition of independent:
- better off
- made it
The definition I used wasn’t serving me because my opinion of myself changed when I didn’t fit within its parameters. When I was dependent on someone or something, it meant I wasn’t successful, I wasn’t strong, I wasn’t well off, I hadn’t made it, and I wasn’t self-sustaining.
This is why this podcast’s entire premise is dropping the label “Nice Girl,” if it’s a label or definition that changes how you feel when you don’t fit within it, then it’s time to drop it. You can use this work with any label or definition you use.
If this resonates with you, then your definition of independence looks a lot like mine, and asking for help isn’t a part of it.
The first step to learning how to ask for help is to decide that definitions are fluid, and you can redefine them as you grow and evolve. To do this, I usually start with what the dictionary provides. It’s eye-opening to see how we define things totally differently than intended.
For example, the first definition I saw was “free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority.” I think this is interesting because asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re under someone else’s control or depending on their authority unless you let it mean that.
1) Write down words like dependent, independent, giving, owe, and receiving and explore your definition of these words.
- Do they help you create the life you want?
- Do they affect how you see yourself if you do/don’t fit into its definition?
2) Re-write any definitions that don’t serve you.
- If you draw a blank, google the definition. This is a great starting place!
Doing this exercise also helps you reflect on your willingness to receive. Is receiving something you’ve given a poor definition to? When you receive help, do you decide this means something negative about you?
This goes back to being willing to allow other people to have their own thoughts and perceptions about you. What if instead of deciding for them that they have to get something in return when they give help, you decide that it’s possible that they like giving help.
What if, to them, they want to feel useful and helpful?
“I’m scared of taking up their time and them thinking I’m lazy or trying to ‘take the easy way out.’ “
Trying to avoid someone giving you a negative label is like driving a car with an obstacle that pops up on the road. People often overcorrect, swerving so violently to one side to avoid the obstacle that they end up doing more damage than calmly staying the course.
As we already talked about, you can’t ever know for sure what someone else is thinking of you, and trying to manipulate how they see you cause more harm than good. When you do, you’re likely to misjudge (like overcorrecting). This is how misunderstandings happen so often. When you do/say something you think is more pleasing to someone else instead of just being yourself. So, they read this as fake, leading you to build further evidence of your belief that people think negatively of you.
You often miss that they’re not looking at you negatively, but instead, the inauthentic version you created for them.
Have you ever changed how you show up when you ask for help? When you hear yourself ask, does it sound like the authentic you? Or a watered-down version of you that you created in hopes of coming across as “not lazy”?
1) Practice going about your day and simply allow people to think and feel the way they do. Instead of convincing them to see differently, practice letting them know you accept them as they are.
- Don’t take your words/actions through a filter to try and control where their minds go.
- This idea is the main difference between “I don’t care what other people think ever” and authentic allowance. It’s hoping people will like you but not changing how you act if they don’t.
2) Take note of when you feel a lot of resistance to allowing people to think/feel what they do about you.
- We’re taught that nice girls need to care about what other people think of them. In school, we have to impress other people throughout childhood if we want to succeed. Essentially, the underlying message is “your opinion of yourself is less important than other’s opinions about you.“
- Or that it’s unladylike to have ambitions, desire to make more money, etc., and that asking for help to further your agenda is selfish.
The Big Picture
It’s only natural that the urge to be nice is so ingrained in all of us. Taking the spotlight off ourselves and being busy is a badge of honor (especially when you’re busy doing other people’s bidding) is considered good, honorable, and something to strive for.
It’s also not surprising that since it’s not taught to us how to ask for help when we’re young, that as adults, we want to struggle in silence.
When you see the patterns within yourself of shying away from asking for help, you start to see how people-pleasing and self-sabotage play a hand in other life areas.
Don’t miss the extra journal prompts to take this info deeper!
In the 6 Steps to Self-Empowerment, I explain how to move through self-doubt, establish new beliefs that empower you and how to take efficient action on your goals.
With each episode of the Not A Nice Girl podcast published, additional free journal prompts will be added that takes you through the six steps and the episode topic.
To grab these prompts, follow the podcast on Instagram @NotANiceGirlPodcast, check out this month’s Story Highlights, and screenshot those that resonate with you.
How to Make This Work Permanent
If you’re ready to change the way you see yourself permanently, take action, and bring the things you daydream to life, then book a free call with me.
In this one-hour video call, we’ll discuss where you are now, where you want to be, and create a game plan on how to move past the obstacles in your way.
This call is designed to help you decide if having me as your life coach will help you get to where you want to go. Regardless of the decision you reach, what you learn in this call will change you for the better, not because of what I say or do, but because of what you learn about yourself.
To schedule a call, use the calendar below. Pick a day and time convenient for you, and make sure that it is set to your timezone! After you pick the day, follow the prompts, and I will email you with access to the Zoom link.
If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Resources to Implement What You Learned Today
- The Difference between Finding Your Life Purpose and Goals
- What to do if Your Partner isn’t Focused on Self Improvement
- Why I’m Not a Nice Girl, and Why You Shouldn’t be Either.
- How to Connect to Your Higher Self