I recently conducted a poll about asking for help, and let me tell you, the results were quite eye-opening. About 75% of the responses fell into the "sometimes" to "no, I can handle it" range. Well, well, well, things just got interesting. Cue dramatic music. I admit, I used to be in the "no, I can handle it" camp myself. But let's talk about Arabs and their interesting relationship with asking for real help.
Here's the thing: we Arabs are totally cool with having help around the house, taking care of our kids, and managing our work and school lives. Sure. But when it comes to emotional support? Oh no, that's a big no-no. It's like there's an unwritten rule that says having a nice, comfortable life is socially acceptable because it boosts our image. But dare we bring up our need for emotional or mental support.. Hello image destruction. So, we prefer to avoid it altogether and act like everything is okay.
As a culture, I must say we excel in having extra help to manage our households, take care of our children, and handle the cooking—hells yes to that! I am so happy to come from a society blessed in understanding that you don't need to do it all by yourself. It allows us to have more time for the things we truly enjoy without feeling guilty or overwhelmed by excessive responsibilities.
You need help with your kids, go ahead ask people to help you find nannies and hire five nannies, get all the help you need, talk about it with EVERYONE. There is no shame in getting nannies, it's totally socially acceptable and doesn't affect how people see you in the slightest. You need help with the mom guilt of having nannies..mm better keep it to yourself. No one needs to know what's going on in your head. What are people going to say if they know you have mom guilt. Imagine people start thinking you are a bad mama because you have mom guilt.
So why the lack of people openly admitting their struggles? Is it due to trust, or fear of image destruction or a sense of pride that stops people from saying the truth. It's always, "Everything is fine, everything is great! Life is good!" But sometimes, it's not as good as it seems, and I genuinely believe that asking for help can make a difference.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you climb up to your rooftop with a megaphone and announce to the world that you're struggling. No, instead think of this as a simple invitation to be a little more honest with your closest and dearest, to let them in on a bit more of the truth instead of resorting to the regular "Walla 7emdillah," "Zaina," or "everything is good" half-truths.
Because let's face it, life isn't always rainbows and butterflies *no matter how much I want it to be*. It's okay to admit when we're struggling, to lean on others for support, and to share our genuine selves. By doing so, we create a space for authenticity, understanding, and deeper connections. We do not become a burden.
Surround yourself with a supportive network of loved ones who understand your needs and are willing to offer their assistance. Remember, true relationships thrive on mutual care and understanding, where supporting one another brings joy and strengthens the bond. Don't be afraid to reach out to those who love you and let them be there for you in times of need. Asking for help lets other's know how important they are to you and how close they are to you.
Let's break the stigma, of asking for real help. Your image will not be ruined if you show some vulnerability and honesty. Embrace the power of vulnerability, reach out to those you trust, and let them in on your journey. Remember, life is meant to be shared, messiness and all. It's time to let the "everything is good" façade crumble and make room for genuine support, growth, and love.
And if your image is "ruined" because you asked for real help ..maybe it's time to reevalaute.
Still worried about being a burden? Here are some tips to make you change the way you see yourself when asking for help:
Recognize your worth: Remind yourself that you are deserving of support and that seeking help is a natural part of life. Everyone needs assistance at times, and it doesn't diminish your value or capabilities.
Shift your perspective: Instead of viewing asking for help as a burden, reframe it as an opportunity for others to contribute and feel good about making a difference. Understand that people often appreciate being asked for help and feel valued when they can lend a hand. (How do you feel when people ask you for help?)
Choose the right people: Get support from individuals who genuinely care about you and have shown their willingness to help in the past. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or mentors who understand and embrace the concept of mutual support.
Be specific about your needs: Clearly articulate what you require assistance with. Providing specific details helps others understand how they can help you effectively, reducing any uncertainty or assumptions. ( The clearer you are, the easier to help.)
Express gratitude and reciprocate: Show appreciation for the support you receive by expressing your gratitude sincerely. Cute flowers, a card or just a phone call go along way. Also being open to helping others in return!
Communicate honestly and assertively: Be open and honest about your challenges or needs without apologizing for them. Assertively express what you're going through and how others can support you, emphasizing that their help is valuable to you.
Practice self-compassion: Remember that it's okay to ask for help and that it doesn't make you weak or burdensome. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, acknowledging that asking for help is a sign of strength and self-awareness.