The other day, I was browsing social media and stumbled on a post about elderly parents refusing help.
Person after person shared their suffering caused by their parent resisting necessary assistance.
For example, many parents prefer to live in a dirty house rather than accept their child paying for a cleaner.
Reading about all this pain, I realised that not accepting help can be one of the most selfish acts.
In a world that often encourages self-sufficiency, it is in togetherness that we grow and prosper.
Are you one of those people who resist asking for or accepting help? Here are some of the reasons this might be happening.
Key reasons you might refuse help
- Pride: You might feel that admitting you need help shows weakness or incompetence. Maybe you’re ashamed of your situation or the reason you need assistance. Your culture might stress self-reliance, making you embarrassed to ask for help.
- Independence: You might need to prove to yourself or others that you can manage challenges alone. To you, accepting help could feel like losing control over your situation. You don’t want to come off as needy.
- Privacy Concerns: You might be afraid that by accepting help, you expose personal or sensitive details about yourself.
- Lack of Awareness: You might not even realise you need assistance or know it’s available. Or, perhaps, you’re avoiding facing the severity of a situation by turning down aid. It is a denial mechanism.
- Fear of Strings Attached: You could be worried that the help comes with hidden conditions or expectations. If you’ve had negative experiences when seeking assistance in the past, you might be hesitant to do so again.
- Distrust: You’re uncertain about the motives or abilities of those offering their support. You think you can handle things better on your own.
- Feeling Undeserving: Perhaps low self-esteem makes you feel like you don’t deserve help.
“What is wrong with being independent?” you might be thinking. You do not want to burden anybody; you can push through alone.
Refusing help can often have negative consequences for you and those around you.
Let’s break it down:
Why Refusing Help is Bad for You
Missed Growth Opportunities: Growing is an end in itself in an ever-expanding universe.
Being taught and coached by people further along the journey is one of the fastest ways to grow.
It is the easiest too. I prefer learning from other people’s mistakes rather than my own.
People often reject learning from others because they think they know the stuff.
I resist falling into this trap. I may know a lot, but if I really knew a particular field of knowledge, my results would reflect it.
If I really knew wealth creation, for example, I would be a billionaire. If I really knew emotional intelligence, my emotions would never derail me.
I listen carefully when I see people having better results than me in an area. I look for the missing piece rather than scoffing off what they say with an “I know this stuff.”
If you knew the stuff, your results would reflect it. If they don’t, be humble and learn from people you believe are further along your journey.
Increased Stress & Burnout: Taking on too much alone can lead to mental and emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue.
Your soul wants to do some things and does not want to do others. Learn to accept help with the tasks you do not want to do, from bookkeeping to cleaning your floors.
Time Inefficiency: Handling tasks you’re unfamiliar with alone can consume more time than necessary.
When I started building my ParentPath course, a series of audio lessons, I was doing the audio editing on my own. Then, as my lessons became longer, my audio editing took up to 7 hours per lesson.
It was madness! I then hired an audio engineer who could do a better job than me in a fraction of the time.
Isolation: Continuously declining assistance can lead to feelings of loneliness. You will end up feeling cut off from support networks.
Something all blue zones (places where people live longer) have in common is a sense of community. People rely on one another, and they feel supported. This is the key to them staying healthy and living longer.
Worse results: I read a fascinating study while researching my book Hold Successful Meetings. It showed that papers done by two or more researchers are cited twice as often as papers done by one researcher.
The lonely genius is a myth. A good team will produce better results than an individual.
Why Refusing Help is Bad for Others
Frustration & Emotional Drain: It is hard to watch someone you care about struggle without being able to assist.
When you refuse help and continue to face challenges, it can be emotionally taxing for those around you. Especially if they are empathetic and concerned about your well-being.
How many people will suffer from mental health issues draining the people around them but will refuse to work with a therapist or healer?
Deprivation of Connection: Offering help provides many a sense of purpose and fulfilment. By refusing, you might be denying them that gratification. You also create a barrier between you.
Embracing help will enrich our lives, improve our outcomes, and nurture our relationships.
By stubbornly shouldering burdens alone, we rob ourselves of potential growth. We also deny our loved ones the satisfaction of being there for us.
It’s high time to challenge the norms of self-sufficiency. Let’s recognise the strength that lies in the collective effort. Because in unity, in mutual support, we don’t just survive—we genuinely thrive.