• Madhura

It is okay to ask for help.

Hello and welcome to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. I am so grateful for you listening to these episodes every week. You are part of my dream and I am incredibly thankful for your support. As I promised last week, I am bringing the next episode in the mini series. It is okay. Today, I will talk about accepting help. It is okay to ask for help. I have used this sentence in most of my episodes. I truly believe in the power of help and I am determined to convince you as well. If you hesitate to ask for help, this episode is for you. If you feel that you have to do it all, this episode is for you. So keep listening, but as always let’s start the episode with the Happy moment of the week.


Happy Moment of the Week

I talked about my small patio garden a few times here on this podcast. But I have acquired a new hobby. I started having indoor plants. I wanted to have indoor plants for a while but was always worried if I would be able to keep them alive. I was not sure which ones to buy, what kind of pots they need, how much sunlight is needed for each one. I had so many questions. But this summer, I did my research and finally got some indoor plants. Some is an understatement. I got almost, let me count, 8 indoor plants. Of course some of them are tiny. I am learning to take care of them. It makes me so happy to see them growing. I am amazed how a little bit of nature can bring so much beauty and joy even inside your home. My husband started teasing me by calling me crazy plant mom. But I am enjoying these beauties. Few days back, my fiddle leaf tree started showing some brown spots on its leaves. They were growing by the day. I was worried. I started wondering if I killed that beautiful plant. But then, I decided to find the solution. Of course, google came to the rescue. It turned out that I was overwatering that plant and there was not a proper drainage to the pot. My fiddle leaf tree was showing early signs of root rot. Google suggested repotting the plant with fresh soil and water only when the soil has less moisture. I followed the exact steps and I had been watching carefully for the past couple of weeks. And finally, today, I saw a new  tiny green leaf growing on my tree. I could not be happier, I revived that tree. It gave me so much joy this morning to see this beautiful new life growing on my tree. I definitely experienced the most beautiful moment today. What about you my friend? How are you doing? What is your happy moment of the week? Just close your eyes and try to think of the moments that brought you joy. It could be a simple and trivial moment but if it brought a smile on your face, then think about it, cherish it and of course share it with our amazing community over at facebook. 

Alright, it is time to buckle up and start the discussion about today’s topic. It is okay to ask for help. I know it is difficult sometimes and I get it. We have been taught since childhood to do everything ourselves. We have been taught the importance of independence and self suffix iency since childhood. You are expected to do your chores all by yourself, you are expected to complete your homework all by yourself, you are expected to play all by yourself. In all this rush to do things all on your own, we forget to instill an important life lesson. It is great to do things independently but it is also okay to ask for help if you are stuck anywhere. We forget to create an encouraging environment for anyone to ask for help and that is exactly what we will discuss today. It is absolutely okay to ask for help. 



Step 1 : Change your beliefs

We often think that the confident people don’t ask for help. We take too much pride in thinking that we can figure anything out on our own. Most of the time, we think that people will find us weak, incompetent or silly for asking help. But there are going to be moments in your life where you might feel vulnerable, you might feel less, you might feel insecure. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help in those moments. It is not a sign of your weakness. It is the exact opposite. Your strength comes from the people, community that you have created, nurtured. It is your strength that you have people to ask for help. Your strength comes from those people. Your strength comes from your courage to ask for help. Your strength comes from their belief in you. It comes from the guidance of the people you love. Acknowledge that. There is no shame in asking for help. There should be no guilt for asking help. Sometimes, you need a friend, a mentor, a buddy to help you navigate the tough situations. We have been taught to do everything all by ourselves, your strength comes from changing that belief system. It does not make you weak, needy or dependent instead it makes you stronger, approachable and more relatable. 

I still remember days when my oldest was a baby. As most of us, I was always an independent and go-getter kind of a girl. I valued my ability to do everything on my own too much. I was sure that I could push through these challenging days as a new mom on my own. I thought if I could prepare everything in advance and have a perfect schedule, I can manage a baby, my home, my work all by myself. But as you are aware, babies have their own mind right from the beginning, he would sleep like an angel when she wanted to but the moment I got up to some house chores, he was up and about as if he got a vimp of my plans. I continuously tried finding solutions to have a perfect schedule. Balancing everything on my own was my idea of a perfect mother. But was I right? Was I enjoying my journey of being a new mom? Absolutely not. I was pushing through the pain. I was totally ignoring signs of fatigue. I was brushing off my tiredness. But I still remember the day, when everything became crystal clear to me. I was home alone with my son. It was late afternoon. I was having a late lunch after putting him down for a nap. I was extremely hungry.  I served myself and was about to take a first bite and I heard him cry in his sleep. I am not too proud to admit but I felt as if I had no strength in my legs to get up and pick him up. I could not get up from that chair. I was too exhausted to even move my body. I felt as if someone was holding me so tight that I could not even get up from that chair. I did not realize how and when tears started rolling down from my eyes. I finally gathered myself and rushed to him. He was already asleep again. I just sat there and cried my eyes out. In that moment, I convinced myself to shatter my own belief that I have to do everything myself to be a better mom.  I convinced myself that my son needed a happy mom not a perfect mom who is exhausted all the time. I decided to ask for help so I could have a break. That evening, I asked my husband if he could take care of the baby while I go for a walk. He was more than happy to help. I could not forget the moment when I stepped out of the house for a walk, I felt like myself again after a long time. Of course, I was thinking about my baby half the time during the walk, but I needed this fresh air, this fresh perspective in my life. After this incident, I realized how important it is to ask for help. You need a friend, a mentor, a doctor, a coach, even a stranger sometimes, to help you, to guide you, to pick you back up and that does not make you weak or imperfect. It makes you a better person. It is okay to need help. It is okay to ask for help, it is okay to let someone in and help you. Asking for help is not your weakness, it simply means you know how to take care of yourself. So my friend, remember, be strong enough to stand alone, but be smart enough to know when you need help and be brave enough to ask for help.


Step 2 : Make a genuine request

I understand the hesitation to ask for help. Sometimes, you think it is too trivial to ask someone else. Sometimes you think, they will not have time to help you. Sometimes you feel, they will think you are not worth the job if you need help in such small tasks. Stop yourself there and don’t go on a track of self loathing. Asking for help does not make you incopetanat instead it shows that you are dedicated to complete this task and are ready to take all necessary steps. Why do you want to reinvent the wheel? If someone already has expertise in something, why don’t you give them a chance to help you? If you are struggling with something, just find the right person who has the knowledge and willingness to help you. Most people are ready to help, it is only the matter of you asking the right questions to the right people. Most of the time, you will find people who have been in your shoes a few days or few years back and they know how to handle that. They have already been there and did that so why not ask for help? Don’t run around the bush, just be genuine, be truly yourself and ask for help. Don’t feel guilty or ashamed to accept that you are struggling with something. Don’t refrain yourself from accepting their help. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge their help and lastly don’t stop yourself from giving them the credit that they deserve. You have to be willing  and open to listen to them. Ask for help in the most genuine way. Be polite, be transparent. It is absolutely okay to say that ,” I am not okay and I could really use a friend today” This does not make you weak, instead you are genuine. You are honest and that is how you should ask for help. We as a human being love the attention, importance, so if you need help from someone, make them feel important. Make sure you tell them how valuable their time and guidance is. But be genuine while saying that. You are not saying that for the sake of your task. Sometimes askinßg help is the bravest thing that you can do, you absolutely don’t have to do it alone. Appreciate their help in a true sense and that is exactly what step 3 is all about.



Step 3 : Show Gratitude

If someone is investing their own time and energy in helping you, it is your moral duty to appreciate their efforts. Of course monetary appreciation is shown in most of the cases but what is more important is showing your heartfelt respect, your true sense of gratitude. I always appreciate the people who thank their colleagues in an email. I think it is such a great gesture to thank everyone on your team for the success of the project. It builds the sense of community. It improves the team bonding and motivates everyone to work harder with true sense of responsibility. There are many small but significant techniques you can use to show your gratitude. We started a new family tradition a few weeks back. We keep a small jar in our bookcase. Let’s say I notice Mihir helping Maitreyi fill up her water bottle or Maitreyi helping Mihir clean up the room, I write that in a note and put that note in that jar. All 4 of us keep adding notes to that jar for a week. Then every Saturday morning, we read all the notes in that jar. It definitely motivates kids to help each other, but it also motivates them to appreciate the help and helper as well. This is one simple technique. Everyday on the dinner table, we talk about the things that we are grateful for today. It helps us reflect on our day and just be grateful for small gestures. It does not make you less important if you thank your helping angel.  We are here to love each other, help each other, appreciate each other and lift each other up. 


Step 4  - Offer help

As I always say, we are here to be there for each other. If I have a right to ask for help, it is my responsibility to offer help. You are unique and amazing in your own way. You have your unique qualities. You can help someone with your amazing skills. Maybe you are a very good listener, help someone by just being there and listening to them when they need a friend. Maybe you are very good at looking at things objectively, help someone who is confused and struggling to make a decision. Maybe you have some time in hand, ask your friend who is struggling to juggle multiple things if you can help her by picking up her groceries. Be proactive, don’t wait for someone to ask for help. If you notice that your friend needs help, offer your help proactively. Help in any form is a help. Your presence, your time, your warm hug, your kind words, your thoughtful gesture ,all these things are forms of help. You see a new mom, don’t wait for her to tell you how exhausted she is, just offer your help in any way possible. Don’t offer once and then just forget about it, be persistent and help. You see an old lady waiting in a grocery line, don’t wait for her to ask for help, offer your help, ask if she wants to go to the cashier first. It is a wonderful quality, it makes us human. It taps the good in you. Again be genuine, be ready to help. You are doing something good but the focus is the person whom you are helping. Be focused on the deed. Don’t expect anything in return. You are truly amazing for helping someone and that feeling is enough for you to feel good. Let me tell you my friend’s story. When I started this podcast, I was totally new to this medium and I had to learn a lot of things before launching this podcast. I was doing my research about recording, editing, and hosting. I was slowly getting the hang of things but I was totally clueless on designing the cover art. I was not sure what colors , design and vibes I should go with for my podcast. But then one of my dear friends offered her help. She is an expert and has a keen sense of design. She helped me design this logo. She is a busy full time working mom and still she spent hours with me to design the beautiful logo not once but twice. Yes, you heard it right, we are designing a brand new logo at time. I am not sure if it will be up by the time this episode is published. But the point is she was so thoughtful and involved in this design. I could not express my gratitude in words. Her help means the world to me. I wish I could help someone the way she did. I don’t have the design skills but maybe I will find something. I hope so!. Anyway the point is keep looking inward, you will find something that you can offer to the world, to the people who need it.  One of the best feelings in the world is knowing someone is happy because of you. Right ?

A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love and an ear ready to listen and a hand ready to help. 


Recap

This brings us to the end of this episode. Let’s quickly recap today’s episode.Today we discussed why it is okay to ask for help and how to ask for help. The steps that we discussed are 

Step 1 : Change your beliefs

Step 2 : Make a genuine request

Step 3 : Show gratitude

Step 4 : Offer help


It is such a powerful purpose of life, helping others should be your purpose, your nature. It is not that difficult. It is okay to ask for help, if you are overwhelmed, tired, confused, sad, lonely. It is okay to be honest. It is okay to admit that you are stuck. Break the silence and break the cycle. It is okay to ask for help. People need other people. People need people to lean on. 

I hope I am able to convince you enough to ask for help the next time you need it. If you find this episode useful in any way, don’t forget to leave me a review on your favorite podcast app. Share it with your friends and family, it helps me bring more episodes every week. Finally, I just want to leave you with one last thought, remember - “It is okay to need help. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to accept the help. And it is okay to offer your help to others.” 



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