The Beauty of Asking for Help

by Caroline van Kimmenade

Yesterday, an old lady came out of her house calling “sister, sister”. She was addressing me. Yet, I do NOT live in the Bronx or anywhere else where such a form of address could be normal. Here it only refers to nuns.

I was standing on the pavement, looking at this old lady as she came up to me, wondering what on earth to expect (and half expecting a previously hidden-from-view nun to pop out from behind a tree!).

“Would you please unknot my scarf?” she asked “and undo these coat buttons? I’ve broken my arm and can’t manage it on my own.”

I did as she asked and before I knew it she’d gone back inside her house and shut the door.

I felt a little like little red riding hood, or some other fairy tale figure. It was such a beautiful and unexpected thing. An old lady, apparently living alone, needing help, and just coming out of her house to ask a passer-by for it.

Confidently. Easily. Expectantly.

How many times do we not ask for help because we’re afraid what someone else will think, or say, or do, or not do?



P.S.  Happy Sensitive Library Members: because it is often so hard for us HSPs to ask and receive, I created a BIG course on this topic. It’s called the More Good Stuff Project and you can access it here.

Start working with the exercises and meditations, especially if your default response is doing everything yourself, feeling ashamed about asking for help, or you just wonder when it’s your turn to get something back for everything you’re doing for everyone else.

The lady in this true story was such an inspiration. She didn’t whine. She didn’t complain about her arm. She didn’t act like a victim in any way. She just needed a little help, and that was it. By making it no big deal, she made it easy for others to help her matter-of-factly. She was able to get the help she needed because she was completely o.k. with asking for it when she needed it.

(And if I had refused to help her, I’m pretty sure she would have either convinced me anyway, or quickly found someone else to help her out).

And yet, getting to that point – of confidently asking – can be a whole journey for us HSPs! Hence, the course I mentioned. To give you concrete steps to take to get there.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trisha Keel December 16, 2011

It's hard to ask for help from those who have not been there for you when you needed help before. It's much easier to rely on yourself, the one you truly can trust. But is sure doesn't help the relationship.

How do you recommend asking a family member for help (i.e., parent, spouse, daughter, son, sister, etc.) or friend when they are clueless about what you need because they're so focused on their own. And we, being as empathic as we are, know what they need all the time and deliver it, often before they even ask.


2 Caroline van Kimmenade December 16, 2011

Trisha, this is such a good point. In the free ebook (that you can download when subscribing for the newletter) I provide ideas to help sensitives identify what they need and then to tell their loved ones exactly what that is. Often people do want to help, but they need precise instruction and precise requests (unlike us, indeed!)

On a more difficult note, asking for help brings up all kinds of issues around what people are able and willing to give. The people who need us the most may be the ones that are able to help us the least.


3 Rowan Ford April 24, 2014

Thank you so much for the in-depth site.I’m a struggling Empath and your comment
‘Those that need us the most are the one’s able to help us the least’ was very profound and wise and really resonated with me.Thank’s again


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