On Accepting Help

I have come to a new mini resolution: If someone offers to help me, I’m going to say (without missing a beat), “YES, PLEASE!” (unless of course they set off my creepy radar)

I was raised to be kind to others but super independent. Image was important and my dad was very concerned that we not appear weak or in need…and accepting help would be just that. I guess he wanted to make sure we could take care of ourselves even when he wasn’t around.

So basically whenever someone offers help my automatic response was “no thanks!”….without even considering if I had a legitimate need. For example, there are a lot of steps to get into my house and after a long haul pushing the baby around town I eye those stairs and feel exhausted. More than once strangers passing by have offered to carry the stroller up this nemesis for me but before I can even blink I have told them no and they are on their merry way. And I stand there silently shaking my head at myself for stupidly refusing *godsend* help.

Thankfully, I did once accept such an offer to help and guess what happened? I got help and met a very nice lady in my neighborhood….win, win, right?

…and I guess that is where I am philosphically veering from my childhood training. As I grow older, I realize it is good to help others AND rely on others. That it is in this very give AND take dance (if you will..hehe) where the roots of community and relationship form. Some of us are By allowing others to help you, you are letting walls down, making yourself vulnerable, giving them an opportunity to serve and grow, allowing them to feel needed….You are truly letting people into your life.

I wish I had come to this resolution a while back because the last nine months of motherhood has seen lots of exhaustion and lots of offers of help….and sadly I have refused them mostly. Silly me! I know I am not good at lots of nurturing mothering activities (such as cooking, schedules, getting things done on a general basis) and I need the help (and strengths) of others. It is a lie that anyone can do it all and the very fact of accepting others’ help is an act of denouncing this pervasive and crazy-making subtext to many of our lives (especially women).

I think another reason I have often refused help is because I don’t want to ‘burden others’. I guess that may come from my own history of often secretly half heartedly offering help (e.g. if I don’t always mean it when I offer to help then others may not either). Well so much for that! I am going to take people at their word because they are adults and they know their own limits (or they are on the journey to learn). Why am I so arrogant to believe that they are deceitful and lack boundaries like I do? And on the flip side, I am learning to only offer help when I mean it and can actually give it.

All this writing is just to say: “Yes, please” to babysitting and cooking for us and whatever else people kindly offer. (writing this helps me to solidify the decision)

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