The previous posts dealt with asking for help and how difficult that can be for someone bent on achieving self reliance. But perhaps even more difficult (for some) can be the ability to receive help, even when it is offered freely. There’s biblical passage that uses the metaphor of seeds being planted in the ground. If the seed falls on the rocks, they will dry up and won’t grow. But if they fall on fertile ground, they will merge with the soil and sprout into a plant of their own kind and nature.
This is what it means to receive. We have to be receptive to ideas, assistance and new habits of thought and action in order for them to take hold and have a lasting effect on our lives. If we are rigid and closed, they will not be absorbed. If we are open and nurturing, they will begin to grow and flourish. Much of the time, there is plenty of help or helping hands available, but they are rejected as fast as they appear.
This non-receptivity can play out in many forms. I know several people on trust funds who feel like they don’t deserve the money and give it away or waste it immediately, leaving nothing to show for it. Some people have difficulty receiving compliments, but are the first to compliment others. Helpers are the worst a receiving help, often running themselves into the ground in the process. Why? Well, some (and I am included) may feel that asking for or receiving help is a sign of weakness, or that certain conditions might be placed on it, which will later be thrown back at the person, or that it will have to be repaid in full.
If you are a ‘helper’ type, ask yourself this:
What if I offer help to someone and the person rejected it? How would that make me feel? If I don’t receive help offered by someone, how would that make them feel?
Know that helping isn’t always so much about the person being helped – it’s much about the person offering the help and the feeling of good will that comes as a result. Rejecting help form another has the effect of denying that person an opportunity to be selfless and feel good about themselves.
As for receiving help, it is not a sign of weakness – actually it takes a strong person to admit he or she cannot do everything on their own. Nor is it something to feel guilty about or that “I’ll owe this person something in return.” The best thing that can be done when receiving assistance is to accept it with gratitude and utilize it to improve your condition. An improved condition, or a smile on your face, will reward the person providing the help in spades.
Personally (and yes this is personal exploration I am sharing), I have trouble receiving help (or compliment, etc.) and part of the reason behind these posts is to help me improve in this and other areas. Maybe in the past, favors were offered that were later thrown back in my face. But that doesn’t mean that’s the case now. To help me allow others to help me, I only have to focus on the joy that I get when I help another. Who am I to deny someone else that joy?
©2010 Chris Sheridan