Friday, November 9, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 9 - Accepting Help

Note: Today is day 9 in my series "30 Days of Thankful."

"I don't need your help. I can do it on my own."

Who isn't guilty of saying that at one time or another?  I know I've actually said that way too much.

We could all use a little "halp" once in awhile.

Growing up, I learned that I had to do things on my own. I was an only child. My mom worked a lot. My dad was a lazy alcoholic who was always angry. Asking for help wasn't really an option. I came to believe that if you needed help, you were weak. Or if someone helped you, they expected something (normally unreasonable) in return. And who wants to appear weak or be controlled by someone else? I've learned that this attitude is a pretty common trait of codependency. (see my post about that here)

I have lots of very thoughtful friends who have offered to help me with all sorts of things throughout the years. But I was always too proud or stubborn to ask for or accept help. When I lived with someone, they were more than willing to help me with cooking, cleaning, and all sorts of other things I could have used help with - but I always said no. I didn't want to seem like I couldn't handle my responsibilities. Didn't want to look weak. Or put anyone else out. Or plenty of other illogical things. When in reality, I was dying for some help. I was just too afraid to express myself. It seemed more logical for me to make a martyr of myself and try to do everything on my own than risk looking or feeling stupid. I've done this in all sorts of aspects of my life. I've struggled with accepting the fact that someone could be offering me help out of a place of love. That they wanted to help me because they genuinely wanted to help me and expected nothing in return. There was none of the tit for tat nonsense I'd been accustomed to. I put up this tough, independent girl facade to try and protect myself from being hurt the way I had been hurt as a kid. But this facade really kept me trapped inside myself. 

In some ways, I think society perpetuates this belief. A strong woman can take care of herself. A strong woman doesn't need nobody. And while, yes, it's true, you should be able to take care of youself, put yourself first, and make sure your own needs are taken care of, there is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting help if you need or want it. Heck, you might not even want or need help but you should accept it if it's offered. Unexpected kindness, generosity, and help is often the best thing.

In recent years I think I've gotten better at accepting help. And since I started living on my own and working on being a better, more independent me (rather than codependent), I think I've made the biggest improvement in this area. When I moved a few years ago, I didn't ask anyone for help. (which was ridiculous, by the way) This time? I asked everyone I knew for help. For everything from getting boxes, to actually moving my belongings, to getting advice on where to buy appliances, to helping me move heavy things around my house. I did that because I wasn't afraid to look weak and I didn't think people would look down on me. I was confident enough to recognize that people in my life (for the most part) want to help - just because.

I've been shown such kindness and generosity from the people in my life as of late. And the most important thing I've learned , I think, is to accept their help and just say "thanks." Accept things as they come and don't over think them. I like to believe that the people in my life are generally good, and if I were given the chance, I'd help them out, too.

So the next time someone offers you some help, before you quickly say no, think about how nice it would be to have some help, and how letting someone else help you would probably make them feel good, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment