Did you cringe a little bit reading that? Did your body tense up? Did a small thought creep in that sounded something like this….”ugh, I am so bad at that.”
Help me makes uncomfortable
I’m not great at accepting help. I literally have a physical reaction when someone helps me. Usually, I feel a touch guilty, anxious, and inadequate all at the same time and then I immediately want to do something for them in return. Heck. I even struggle when someone gives me their cart at Aldi and doesn’t let me give them my quarter. I’m uncomfortable with help. Maybe you’re uncomfortable with it too.
Help is not the enemy
A lot happened when I was pregnant with Nellie. I was extremely sick in the first trimester (the kind of sick where you lose 12 pounds and go to get IV fluids more than once a week). We entered a global pandemic (you know the one). And I had a short stint working from home with a toddler. Nellie’s pregnancy is probably the first time I remember my comfort level with help changing. Honestly, it kind of felt like it had to change. Accepting help was part of survival! (p.s. Cocomelon was also part of survival while working from home with a toddler.) I wouldn’t say that I was suddenly changed and I’m great at accepting help now, but I am certainly better at accepting help. And I hope I keep getting better at accepting help.
The truth? *Help is not the enemy! My ego is.*
The trap I often get caught in is convincing myself that “I should be able to handle it”, instead of realizing that accepting help doesn’t mean I am failing. Accepting help is just one more reminder that I’m human.
Help is a gift
One of my favorite things to do when I feel myself resisting help is to think about the last time I helped someone. Or to think about the last time someone resisted my offer of help. Help is a gift. I love helping. It’s a good feeling to help someone when they need it. To show someone you care for them, you support them.
Is it easier to accept help if you’re doing it for them and not for you? Whatever works 🙂
Some practical reminders about accepting help
Accepting help will likely continue to challenge me, but I am committed to getting better at it. Here’s a list of reminders I go to when I feel myself resisting help.
- No one is doing it all. Everyone needs help.
- Pretend the situation were reversed and you were helping them.
- Help is not the enemy — your ego is!
- Accepting help doesn’t make me less than.
My new response when someone offers to help
Yes, sometimes you really don’t want help. That’s ok! But check in with yourself to see if the reason you’re resisting help is because you truly don’t want it or because you are uncomfortable with help.
Here’s how I want to respond to an offer to help: Thank you, that would be great. THANK YOU, we would love that. Or THANK YOU, that would be extremely helpful.