Can Accepting Help Be an Act of Kindness?
I can remember the conversation clearly, even though it happened 20 years ago. I’m talking with my friend, Maggie, who often turned to me as her sounding board. I’m listening, empathizing, and offering advice when requested. I give a lot in this relationship. And she takes a lot.
She sure sounds like an energy drain, eh? Well, she didn’t have much to work with.
It’s not that Maggie was an over-taker. It’s that I was an over-giver.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called “The Top 5 Ways To Be an Energy Vampire“. Well, there are two sides to that relationship. An energy vampire can’t do what they do unless they have a willing victim.
And guess what? Over-givers attract overtakers because over-givers rarely show their hand. We keep our cards close to the vest so as to not expose any weak spots. Gotta keep that armor in tact, don’tcha know.
But this phone call with Maggie was different. I was having a tough time, and I took a risk. I shared what was going on with me (gasp!), and she received it and held it with such love and compassion.
Wait a minute, I thought. You still like me? You still want to talk to me? Even though you know I don’t have it all together, you’re not going anywhere?
I had such a shame hangover the next day as my belief berated me, telling me what a mistake I’d made by opening up. Then the phone rang and it was Maggie. I almost didn’t answer the call.
“Hello?” I said tentatively.
Maggie dove right in: “So I’ve been thinking about our conversation yesterday (*gulp*), and I just had to call and tell you that I think it was our best chat yet. Thanks for opening up to me. I feel closer to you now than ever before.”
As we talked, I learned that Maggie felt I kept her at arm’s length by not sharing my life; my ups and downs. Sure, she appreciated me always being available for her needs, but she wanted to reciprocate. “Sometimes,” she said, “I’ll manufacture issues in my life just to give us something to talk about; to fill the space; to let you do what you do.”
By me leaning on her for a change, she said I took the friendship to a “whole new level.”
We know that helping others is a generous act of kindness, but have you ever considered that accepting help is as well? By allowing others to be there for you, you invite them to show up to your relationship in a deeper, loving way. And you quickly weed out those who are truly just takers.
Receiving is a gift to the giver, but it’s also a gift to you, your loved ones, your community, etc. The more connected you feel to those around you — and being willing to accept help is a GREAT connector — the higher the vibration at which you’ll operate. And everyone benefits from that!
When you accept help, you:
- Lighten your load, freeing yourself up for things that only you can do
- Reclaim energy for what’s really important to you
- Allow someone else to feel the joy of giving
- Make progress on dismantling blocking beliefs around receiving, and
- You become a receiving role model for family and friends
Take a moment, right now, to think about where you could use some help. Perhaps it’s outsourcing your landscaping, asking your sister to go to the doctors with you, sending your son out to do an errand, meeting with your boss about your heavy workload, or letting someone else handle some details of your upcoming wedding.
When you let your guard down, your love for others expands and you get to show up to life more fully.
Give it a shot!
I want to hear from you! Do you have trouble asking for help? Accepting it if it’s offered? What feels scary about it? Or, are you someone who loves to be helped? How does this add to your happiness? Chat with me in the comments below.
Until next week, keep taking those steps to Live Out Loud.
I can relate to this post. I am a never married childless woman in my late fifties who is in the mental health field. I have a lot of people who lean on me and very few that I share my heart with. I had a difficult childhood and my adult life I didn’t learn to trust so I keep my feelings close to the vest as one of my friends calls it. I have tried to open up to more people and sometimes its successful and sometimes not. I would love to find a way to open up and accept help.
Thanks for joining the conversation, Elaine. What would be a great start for you would be to explore any feared consequences of opening up. What feels scary about that? What does your fear tell you it would do to your relationships?
Next, find a way to get your feet when in the asking-for-help department by choosing low-risk areas. For example, when grocery shopping, ask a clerk where something is, even if you know where to find it. This is a way of dipping your toe in the water of vulnerability. Think about how else you might practice asking for help in safe way.
I’d love to hear how it works for you!