It’s okay to ask for help


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Ari Bowman, Former Opinion Editor

It’s okay to not be able to do everything. It’s also okay to not shoulder as much responsibility as you (or the people around you) think you can handle. It’s okay to leave work to somebody else. 

I’ve been telling myself the above… a lot. 

Let me explain. Not long ago, I took on way more than I could handle. Of course, I thought I could handle it all. Initially, it all didn’t seem like “too much.” That’s why I’d agreed to take it all on.

Then, on a particular Sunday afternoon, as the minutes ticked away, I didn’t know what thing to do first. There was the design for my employer’s menu chalkboard that I’d agreed to do. Also on my plate: A staff editorial about sex ed. My AP Art portfolio was also waiting for me. So were several college applications. Like, if I really wanted to go to Pratt, I needed to get on it.

All of this wasn’t easy to handle. In fact, I couldn’t. I didn’t. I felt paralyzed. 

So instead of getting started on literally anything, I wallowed in self pity and sorrow. I melted down. I yelled at my mom. I kicked the sofa. And a chair. And my bed. I threw things. And I screamed, “Why doesn’t anybody want to help me?” 

It wasn’t pretty.

Feeling this overwhelmed meant that stuff didn’t get handled— like the story for the Stinger originally titled “How Chanukah isn’t Jewish Christmas.” 

(By the way, this story was initially supposed to be the Chanukah story. Also, FYI, Chanukah isn’t Jewish Christmas. If you want to know why, try Google.)

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell you why Chanukah isn’t Jewish Christmas. I did. The story was my idea. So why didn’t I write it? Why couldn’t I write it? I was so overworked and tired that my brain went on strike. It was as if all of my brain cells refused to talk to one another. As I stared at my computer screen, no words or sentences would form. Eventually I had no choice but to do something that I hate to do. 

I asked for help. 

When you’re not in the habit of something, it’s harder to do it when you really need to. It’s scary. The thing is, it was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The next day in class, I told several Stinger editors that I needed help writing the staff editorial. No one pushed back or argued with me. They just… helped. I realized: the only reason no one had helped me before was because I hadn’t asked. 

The second I asked for help, it felt like a 200-pound weight was lifted right off my back by some angel descending from above. Some of the pressure I was under alleviated; I felt less stressed and ready to work. My brain came out of its shutdown mode. I was able to sit down and write this. Everything became 10 times easier all of a sudden. Once I realized that I could ask for help, my life became so much easier. 

I began asking people for help with everything. Like, I mean everything. And while that might not be the most healthy thing in the world, by G-d was it satisfying. After doing everything by myself for so long, it was a wonderful change of pace; having someone there to fix your mistakes, fill in the gaps that you miss, and do tasks that you don’t want to do because you just have so much that you’re already doing is a big change (one that is extremely rewarding at that). 

So if you’re like me, and you’re someone who avoids asking for help, remember this: the next time you’re struggling, whether it be in school, personal life, or something else, remember that it’s always okay to ask for help. No one is going to get mad at you for expressing your needs, and if they do, that’s not someone you need in your life.