Our American culture highly values independence…self-sufficiency…resourcefulness. Lately there’s been a trend toward living more simply—tiny-houses, living off of the grid, etc.
There’s no doubt that gaining appropriate independence is an essential growth marker to reach! I believe one can never fully feel “adult” without gaining confidence that can only be experienced with self-sufficiency.
Yet, beyond independence is inter-dependence…the awareness that we need help from another…and then to relax into that highest level of human interaction.
The lesson of gracefully appreciating help from others has been a lesson occasionally experienced in my life. I used to find it hard to give up my prideful independence…my insistence that “I can do it myself.”
Lately, however, I’ve had weeks of severe pain from a pinched sciatic nerve to encourage me to surrender into the exquisite pleasure of accepting help…even asking for help, when needed.
The teen son of a friend volunteered to drop by one morning a week to do any chore I need. Yes! Thank you!
Two precious women have delivered groceries to me ...and put them away!
My son and his wife volunteered to donate a few hours during their visit with me to do three big yard jobs that had been nagging me for months. Wow! What a relief to have those eye-sores gone.
I absolutely had to run three errands last Saturday. I called Mike, my tax preparer and asked, “I’m in a lot of pain. Would you be offended if I honk my horn for you to retrieve these documents you need?” He was happy to fetch them from my car.
I went to the bank, hobbled into the lobby and sat in reception. When the greeter came to see what I needed, I requested a teller at a desk so I could sit down to complete several transactions. They were happy to oblige.
My last chore was buying chicken food. From the pet store’s parking lot, I called the manager. I again explained that I’m in a lot of pain so walking and standing to check out is very hard for me. I requested the bag of food be delivered to my car with payment being given through the open car-door window. This woman was so gracious about helping me.
Asking for help when it’s needed is a gift to myself for sure! And asking for help is also a gift to the help-giver.
I once asked my highway patrolman son what he enjoyed the most about his job. It thought he might say, “Chasing the bad guys,” or “Stopping a drunk driver.” But what he instantly said was, “Helping people.” He often does that by air lifting injured hikers to a medical team, or assisting the officers on the ground to safely track a fugitive.
In my coaching of couples, I am surprised at the resistance some have to asking their partner for help. Sometimes the barrier to asking is the irrational belief, “He/she should know what I need without my asking for it! So I won’t ask and I will nurture the resentment that results from my stand.”
Sometimes reluctance to ask for help comes from believing that you don’t have the right to ask…you should just do it yourself. And sometimes the refusal to ask for help comes from the painful experience of asking…perhaps even being promised help…and then being let down when the helper dropped the ball.
And yet asking for help is opening a door of grace for both the giver and the receiver. We experience the best interdependence when we trade our ego’s need to be in control, for the sweetness of being helped.
I am grateful for the opportunities to help others. I am grateful for each one who has helped me in the past, and now when my ability to do some physical tasks is limited. May we all be open to blessings as we give…and receive.
If you’re interested in getting Nancy’s help to relieve the suffering in your relationship, book a complimentary appointment with her by clicking this link to her calendar: https://meetme.so/SpeakWithNancy