Asking for Help Can Build Self-Esteem

January 20, 2021 Jessica Kaley

Poor self-esteem can make it difficult to ask for help. You may feel that you are not worthy of other people's time and assistance. Maybe it's because you are not in the habit of prioritizing yourself and keep pushing your needs aside. Whatever the reason behind the difficulty, everyone needs help sometimes, and practicing how to ask for help is a good exercise to build self-esteem.

I have always had trouble admitting I need help. I felt that asking for help was a sign that I wasn't enough on my own. Sometimes I was afraid of showing my need because that meant acknowledging to myself that I wasn't a superwoman. These past couple of weeks showed me that it's time to put this fear behind me and figure out how to teach myself a way to ask for assistance without feeling like a failure.

Poor Self-Esteem Kept Me from Asking for Help

There have been times in my life that I have been in difficulty and could have used help but was unable to ask for it. I was sure that the reason I needed help was my own shortcomings and that I wasn't good enough. Sometimes, in a manic period of my bipolar type 2 disorder, I would overcommit and then frantically scramble to fulfill my responsibilities. Other times, I would find myself falling into financial problems because spending money was a way of self-soothing.

I have memories of fighting with my mother over little things like her buying me pantyhose for a couple of dollars. She meant it as a gift, and I saw it as a sign that she thought I couldn't afford to take care of myself. When I was struggling, I put up a prickly barrier that made it hard for people to offer help without me asking first, and I never asked until I was in critical need.

Asking for Help Is a Sign of Strength that Builds Self-Esteem

My body doesn't react well to stress. Some unexpected occurrences caused my stress level to skyrocket, and it put me into a precarious health situation twice, both times over the weekend when my doctors' offices were closed.

The first time it happened, I panicked because I live alone and far from my loved ones, and I'm considered high-risk for COVID-19, so I don't mingle with others. I was unable to think clearly because of my fear and not feeling well. Luckily, a friend I felt comfortable sharing with eventually talked me into calling to speak to the on-call doctor. Relief came quickly, both from the medical issue and the fear.

The following weekend the stress manifested itself due to a different health problem. After the previous experience, I didn't wait and called the doctor. I am learning from my experiences, and that's a good thing. I also shared my concern with my family about my fear of emergencies like this while I'm living so far from them. Being honest and transparent with my family is a part of my current self-esteem work.

I spoke with my therapist about all this, and we came up with a plan to help me feel more secure. Today my women's group will discuss creating an emergency plan based on my suggestion. The group is made up of women over age 55 who live alone like me, so it will be pertinent to us all. Sharing my concerns with the group is a way to build self-esteem because it is a way of asking for help.

In the future, I will practice asking for help when I need it as a form of self-love and self-care. They are the building blocks of healthy self-esteem.

Has poor self-esteem stopped you from asking for help? Share your stories in the comments.

APA Reference
Kaley, J. (2021, January 20). Asking for Help Can Build Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Jessica Kaley

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Tina Colston
March, 10 2021 at 4:05 pm

I struggle with low self esteem and need help with my insecurities. I’ve always belittled and bullied other people to attempt to try and make myself look better. I also believe that I am Bipolar. I know I definitely need medication and therapy. My family and friends all think I’m crazy.

February, 2 2021 at 7:46 am

What if I have asked for help so many times and been refused, ignored, not believed I'm in trouble, or just plain shunted to the side that I cannot ask anymore?
Having been extra isolated cuz of covid this year has been very bad. In fact for the first time at age 61, I've turned to cutting. I was a high functioning manic depressive for many years, including driving 18-wheelers for 13 yes. with a very good record. Cataracts knocked me out of that. Now I have no health insurance to fix it. Every time I turn around something new is beating me down. Yet, I keep on getting up. I always work, own a vehicle and keep a roof over my head and take good care of my cat. (She didn't ask to be adopted by a crazy person.)
I already have a friend or two that thinks I should "buck up" and handle it.
I live in a small town 70 mi from Atlanta where all my friends are. It is difficult and lonely. I have a job where I am by myself all the time. If it weren't for my pet, I seriously. My side PA told me that she had a college age guy that stayed alive for his dog because he worried no one was good enough to care for him. She was like, "hey whatever it takes to keep you alive."
She was not being flippant, she was happy to use anything that would help her patients. I have a good friend that would take my cat in case anything happened to me. I have fantasies of leaving her in the cage on my friend's porch with all her stuff. And calling as I drove off.
I met a new friend who I thought was really cool. She really is quite the thinker and philosopher. She has a son who is bipolar and living in Canada. He's about to turn 21. Apparently he is doing pretty well with it. we were having a discussion and right away I got the pity party thing. Most people just don't get it. She thinks I should just look at someone successful and want to emulate them. Of course I effing do!
She just doesn't get that I can't make myself do anything when I'm severely depressed. And intimated that may be this friendship won't work. I said fine we don't have to discuss it anymore. Which means yet again I am marginalized, my feelings are not considered, my illness is marginalized as well. I should "buck up" and get over it. I see all this encouraging talk from Rich celebrities who can pay for the very best care and meds, therapy, you name it, are telling you how you can live just fine being bipolar.
Like everything else, if you have money you can. I can't because other ailments have knocked me out of the one thing I'm good at and made money doing. What the eff am I supposed to do? Lay down and die is what I want. But I don't.

February, 2 2021 at 1:20 pm

Kel, I am relating very strongly to so much of what you wrote. Right now I'm facing health crises that have me frightened, and they were caused by a severe depression from my physical isolation and loneliness during the pandemic. I'm retired, live in a small town like you far away from the people I love. I have lost friends from sharing my issues with them and leaning on them too much, and so I learned that I must find a therapist who I trust and can depend on for that kind of sharing. It was not pleasant to realize that I can't rely on friends, but it helped me a lot to find a therapist. I would like you to make it your highest priority to research any possible free or affordable therapist. It's made a world of difference in my life having a trusted person whose job it is to listen and help me work through these issues. It's helped me keep my friendships and feel a little less lonely because I don't have to use them for that purpose. Another option is to join a church or other community organization for support. I found that the local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship had a group that meets online for women over 55 who live alone, and it's been a great support for me, and free. If you need help finding therapy you can afford, that is a good thing to ask people to assist you with, because the outcome is worth the effort and the risk. Make that your focus and know that you are not alone. Please keep reading and commenting and sharing here in our safe place.

Barb Smith
January, 23 2021 at 1:32 am

Good read, I have the same problem. This is something I have to work on.

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