When your job search makes you feel like a burden

Do you ever feel like you’re being a burden? Do you worry that asking for help feels awkward? Worried you’ll come across as desperate or needy? This is a common refrain I hear from job seekers that can seriously hold you back.

Here’s how to flip the script on feeling like a burden:

Thank early and often

Instead of apologizing for being a burden, thank people for their help. It can relieve the same sense of anxiety you might feel for taking up peoples’ time, without coming across as apologetic.

Instead of this:

“I’m so sorry to even ask this of you…”

“I feel like I’m taking up too much of your time and energy…” 

“Sorry to be such a burden, but…”

Try this:

“Wow, thank you again for your willingness to help.”

“I really appreciate your patience with me.” 

“I can’t tell you how much your support means to me.”

Thanking people early and often can help you calm that inner voice of insecurity that can make you feel not worthy of their support – which can hold you back from asking for what you need to move forward.

Get your mindset right

I used to be a skeptic, but it turns out, focusing on a calming mantra can really help you get your mindset right.

One that’s really helped me in the past is, “I deserve to serve, and to be served.” I posted this little reminder on my mirror where I would see it every morning to help me feel deserving of other people’s love and support.

Yours might be as simple as saying, “I am worthy, I am worthy, I am worthy.” 

Before you can reach out and ask for help, you have to feel worthy of asking for people’s help. It’s a confounding catch-22. I talk a lot about my experience with the martyrdom mindset in my book, Bossed Up: a Grown Woman’s Guide to Getting Your Sh*t Together, and how I slowly but surely I worked on re-writing my inner monologue.

Let others draw their own boundaries

Being able to draw personal boundaries is absolutely essential for getting out of the martyrdom mindset and striving for sustainable success. But guess what? No one can draw those boundaries for you.

The same thing goes for the people you’re asking for help! Their boundaries are not yours to set.

If you email someone for support and they don’t get back to you for a week, or get back to you in the negative. That’s ok! Let them set their boundaries. Don’t pre-emptively assume someone can’t help.

Let them be the judge of whether or not they can help. Ask for the help you need. Be ready to receive it. And respect boundaries when you’re confronted in them.

Remember: people generally want to help you. So don’t be a barrier between yourself and the people who want to support you.

This article originally appeared on BossedUp.