Do You Need Help?

Refusing aid is a common yet dangerous practice.


collage by Anna Parsons

Even if it is needed immensely, help is often refused in the name of self-sufficiency.

Anna Parsons, Staff Writer

If someone lost one of their legs, they would need aid from a doctor to be able to properly balance with a prosthetic and heal overall. They wouldn’t be expected to figure out a way to adapt to one leg by themselves. Of course, this is obvious to all. However, though extreme, this example does not differ from any aspect of life where one needs help. 

Aid is a concept that so many love to offer but hate to accept from others. Human nature teaches us to be self-sufficient. Refusing help, even if we need it direly, is a common pattern that emerges from this natural instinct. We are the only ones expecting ourselves to deal with a problem on our own rather than seek assistance.  

“To help” is a verb that allows the actual helper to put others’ needs before their own, creating that “Good Samaritan” feeling. Helping others is praised in society and seen as a good deed that should be rewarded. So, the act of helping is engraved into our brains as a necessary deed, but often the actual acceptance of that aid is viewed as negative. 

Life is full of struggle and pain. That is normal and will never change. But unlike the common narrative relays, those struggles are not meant to be dealt with by a single person. The notion that life’s tough moments are an individual problem that shouldn’t include the solutions of others is unreasonable, right? 

The act of helping is engraved into our brains as a necessary deed, but often the actual acceptance of that aid is viewed as negative.

The majority of people, however, believe this to be false and will often refuse help. Human self-sufficiency clicks into effect and, all of a sudden, serious issues are simply little hiccups in the road of life that can be solved easily. Accepting help is perceived as causing a burden on someone else who isn’t dealing with the same issue. This toxic mindset prohibits people from welcoming assistance that will ultimately make their lives easier to live. 

Weakness is a major concept that influences individuals’ refusals. Our society preys on the weak or even just those who are perceived to be weak. It seeks them out and attempts to humiliate them only to present its stronger dominance. People fear weakness because they fear humiliation. They fear being laughed at, pointed at, being told that they are less

As a result, we have developed this unhealthy thought that asking for help, requiring help, and accepting help is a sign of weakness. And we associate weakness with humiliation through a societal lens. This leads us to believe help is negative and will only make us look worse off. This goes back to human self-sufficiency since assistance requires us to rely on other people besides ourselves. The thought process is that with assistance, we are no longer strong enough to handle our own problems.

The whole mindset is quite corrupt and overall, extremely mentally damaging. From such a young age, it’s preached that we form independence and learn how to work out life’s challenges with this independence. The reality is that independence can only take us so far. We are meant to use the skills and thoughts of those around us to better ourselves and become more equipped to handle situations in the future on our own. 

While the common misconception is that accepting aid weakens someone’s being, the truth is that accepting aid actually strengthens someone’s being. By putting ourselves first and acknowledging that there is a greater issue occurring that needs extra assistance, we are showing a sense of strength. Our strength comes from ignoring the social instinct of refusal which is highly difficult since it’s been carved into our minds for years. 

Frequently, the refusal of aid occurs when dealing with issues that are extremely personal and deep—not superficial. Yet, those problems are the ones that people need help with the most. When things get personal or uncomfortable, people hide. They hide what is actually happening so that no one will know the truth about them. If they allowed others to help them with these types of issues, they’d be opening themselves up to possible judgment. This plays into the idea of weakness and the fear of judgment that arises from that. Refusal ultimately all funnels down to society’s opinion. 

By putting ourselves first and acknowledging that there is a greater issue occurring that needs extra assistance, we are showing a sense of strength.

Numerous examples of personal issues exist, but common ones and ones that should be recognized are mental health problems, issues with school, problems with drugs or alcohol, and family issues. However, these are not limited to what type of problems lead to refusal of help. These are just the main types that can be recognized and also encompass many of the sub-groups of problems. 

The toxic and corrupt common practice of refusing help has developed as a natural instinct that is very dangerous. Accepting assistance is a good thing. It’s healthy and will only benefit the person struggling. When someone offers help, nine times out of ten, they are doing so out of the goodness of their hearts because they honestly care. Their intentions are not to judge but to let the struggler know that they are not alone. There is someone wanting to make another’s life easier.  

Human instinct of self-sufficiency is a hard habit to break, especially because it is a trait that can be healthy in some situations. But putting that amount of pressure on one person to solve issues that are just unfathomably troublesome all in the name of self-sufficiency is unrealistic. 

If there is an issue that is burdening and causing nothing but negativity, I encourage all to open their minds to the idea that acceptance of help does not equal weakness, judgment, or a lack of independence, but rather strength, maturity, and self-love. People are there to help and make life easier. Allow the assistance of others, for life throws us problems that require extra help in order to bring us together as humankind. 

It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to accept help. Help is okay.