28 Jun

help: asking for it, accepting it, and offering it

This was meant to be a craft blog. Turns out I’ve got a whole lot of other shit I need to say too. I promise, there will be craft soon.

But in the meantime, I wanted to write a short reflection on help. Asking for it, accepting it (whether it’s solicited or not), and offering it.

I am fiercely independent. Actually, I should clarify that. I rely a lot on my family for life stuff – daily life stuff. Like my mum coming home and checking if I’ve actually gotten up from my desk today and made anything to eat. But I am a strong, independent woman and I don’t ask for help. I’m the help giver, not the help receiver.

I am also a control freak when it comes to my work, and this control freakery fuels my independence. I don’t want help because I’m arrogant enough to think nobody’s gonna do it as well as I will (even though I *know* this is not true). I also worry that by accepting help, I will make things difficult for the offerer.

I’ve needed a lot of help in the last couple of weeks. I’ve asked for it and I’ve taken it when it was offered. And man was it hard!

So here are three things that I want to say on the topic of help. I’m actually really saying them to myself… So it is a reflection in the true sense of the word. But maybe it will resonate for you too.

1. Just ask

Just ask. Whether you need someone to cook dinner one night, or you need someone to take over at work because you’ve got two herniated discs and you can’t walk let alone work, just ask.

2. Say yes

When the shit hits the fan or it’s about to, and someone offers you some kind of help, just say yes. It’s just one word. All you have to say is “Okay” (or maybe, “Okay, thanks. That would be helpful.” More words, still not hard). Even if you didn’t ask for the help, just say yes (unless there’s a good reason you don’t want the help, like when the ‘help’ might actually make things harder for you). If it’s being offered to you, someone has noticed you need it. So swallow your god damned pride, your fierce independence, your control freakery, and just say yes.

3. Don’t wait til someone asks to offer help

Here’s the thing about needing help: no one ever wants to ask for it. Maybe we don’t want to admit we need it. Maybe we don’t want to affect the people we need to ask. Maybe we don’t even know we need it. But the fact is, people often don’t need to ask. Sometimes it’s as obvious as a slap in the face. You can see from 100 metres away that they are floundering, or you get a glimpse of things not going great out of your peripheral vision. Don’t make that person ask for help. They are going to find it hard enough to accept help anyway, and asking for it might be beyond what they could ever do. Sometimes the offer is all they need – just knowing someone cares enough to notice. Sometimes, if you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn or independent person, you may just have to tell them what you’re going to do for them and then just do it.

I’m not proposing you meddle – interpret the situation and make an assessment about whether offering to help is a good thing.

I’m also not proposing you blatantly call out the problems in people’s lives and try to fix them. Don’t head into your next door neighbour’s house and offer to help them implement controlled crying to shut the baby up, but you could offer to pick up some stuff for them at the supermarket to save them a trip. Also, don’t offer annoying help. Like, don’t mow the neighbour’s lawn at nap time.

I’m also not proposing you spend your whole life in service to people who need your help. I’m not proposing you try to fix the world’s problems.

What I’m saying is actually quite simple: look out for your people; take notice of changes in circumstances or character; and offer whatever help you have in you to offer (because we can’t always give them the exact help they need).

30 posts in June: 22/30

Thanks for all the help in the last 10 days, people. Couldn’t have gotten through without all of you.