When Someone Offers to Help, Do This

How often do you feel overstretched and overrun by a 6 foot-long to-do list? It can seem like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Two hands never seem to be enough.

But then, consider how often you reject help. “Would you like a hand carrying and delivering those 21 pies to the community center?” “Oh, no thanks, I’ve got it,” you mumble as the top pie on your stack teeters dangerously, threatening to color your white shirt permanently with cherry crumble.

Why do we do this? Why do we reject help, especially when we need it the most? Oftentimes, many of us are in denial that we need help to begin with. It takes a lot of conscious practice and patience to learn to admit when you cannot or should not do something on your own. But, there are other social constructs that further prevent us from accepting help in whatever form when we need it most.

Dismissing politeness. Many of us reject offers of assistance because we assume they are just being polite, that they don’t actually want to help. Absolute silliness. If someone offers you help, they mean it. Be polite to yourself and accept their gracious offer. And if they didn’t actually want to help, taking them up on their offer will teach them not to half-heartedly offer to help someone in need if they don’t mean it.

Feeling inadequate. For some reason there is this idea lurking in our collective subconscious that needing or accepting help somehow makes you a weaker person. We generally prefer to toil through tough times solo as a powerful modern-day martyr rather than accepting the assistance and ease of others. Accepting a generous offer does not make you a lesser person. In fact, accepting help only makes you more empowered, more confident and more capable. Plus, think of how much more you’ll be able to get done with a few extra hands!

Second-guessing their motives. Accepting help can feel extremely vulnerable. Think about it: you open yourself up to rely firmly on another person who is entirely out of your control. And there is always the chance that someone wants something from you in return. But it’s rare that someone is offering to help you with malicious ulterior motives. They may simply need some help themselves, but not know how to directly ask, so they create a sort of trade. Accept and be open to the goodness in humans. Nine times out of ten it just makes people feel good to help out others in need. But, if you have a nagging sensation that something smells a little foul, listen to it and seek help elsewhere.

Unwilling to share the burden. It is very kind of you to not want to share a heavy burden with anyone else, but a burden on two backs is much lighter than a burden on one. Many of us sacrifice ourselves so that no one else needs to experience any sort of discomfort. We put everyone up on a pedestal above ourselves and stick ourselves with the lonely, dirty work. If someone cares about you enough to share a burden with you, let them. Don’t think of it as dragging others down to your level. Think of it as loved ones lifting you up to theirs.

One of the most difficult things to do is to admit that you could use some help. It is a sign of vulnerability that our culture tends not to cultivate. But, the next time someone offers you help with something, even if you don’t need it, try accepting it. Better yet, ask someone for help before it is even offered. No one is an island; we all need a little help sometimes. (Even music royalty like the Beatles only got by with a little help from their friends!) Whether it is emotional support, physical support or something in between, learning how to freely accept help is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.

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76 comments

Lesa D
Past Member 5 months ago

thank you Jordyn...

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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