Kind Promise: I will ask for and accept help gracefully.
“I did say ‘thank you,'” I thought this morning after wheeling out of the drugstore, “didn’t I?” I was waiting for a bus after a doctors appointment and nipped into the drugstore to ask for help putting something in my wheelchair pocket. The stranger was a little taken aback when I approached him, but was perfectly sweet and helpful. If I weren’t working with this promise, I wouldn’t have asked for the help.
A 12-step slogan springs to mind: “progress, not perfection.” Asking for help was progress, now I have to work on graceful acceptance.
Last week, I wrote about the Big Emotions that arise for me when I ask for help. It’s the independence monsters that kick those emotions into gear. I have (my culture has) a fantasy that “normal people” are completely independent. They don’t need to ask for help because they solve their own problems. It is a fantasy. We all need help. No score keeping is necessary.
Sometimes I ask for help and the answer is “no.” Sometimes the help I get is not quite what I had in mind. Enter discernment.
- Do I need it? Do I want it?
- Do I need/want it now?
- Do I need/want it done in that way?
If the honest answer to those questions is “no” then there is no problem. I have to watch myself in both directions, though. Sometimes I sacrifice unthinkingly (I want to be nice. I want to be liked) and later become resentful. Sometimes I am so the-center-of-my-universe that I’m selfishly demanding.
Jan Lundy says “the result of wisdom is always kindness.” Kindness both to myself and the other. Happily, there is an answer that is kind to all.
Then, the gratitude party starts! I am thinking about the word “gush.” That could be a fun word when I am thanking strangers. It might be annoying if I gushed frequently to my usual team. Creative challenge: find fun ways of thanking occasional and frequent helpers.