"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone...
and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life
and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another
that creates something."
~Sandra Day O'Connor
I'm currently reading a book, Things Will Get As Good As You Can Stand* (*when you learn that it is better to receive than to give), gifted to me by a dear friend. There are so many highlights and underlines for me to remember the parts that "ping!" in my brain as truth.
Here's an excerpt from the chapter "Let Others Lighten Your Load" that is a good reminder for me of why it's not just okay to ask for help, but why it's also good for my soul:
Receiving help can be hard. When someone assists us, we are, by our very actions, admitting that we need something — whether it's a ride, coaching, aid with a child, or simply placing a heavy bag into an overhead compartment. And needing help can make us feel weak or force us to confront our insecurities and imperfections. But receiving help is also the best way to give yourself more free time.
Getting help may make you feel inadequate because it brings into question whether you are capable of doing everything yourself. But since no one can do everything herself/himself, that's not a reasonable question. The more important question is, How much are you willing to let others lighten your load?
Claire didn't understand the value of receiving help until she broke her arm when she was forty-two. "Strangers would offer to put my groceries in the car for me, and I would refuse because I still had one good arm and could do it myself," she told me. "Of course, it took me longer, but I didn't want to feel helpless. Then one day I was trying to put my luggage in the overhead compartment by myself and a man offered to do it for me. I told him I could do it, and I probably could have, but a woman nearly said, 'You have only one good arm. Let him help you for goodness's sakes!' That's when I realized I must have seemed ridiculous with one arm in a cast, saying 'I can do it myself.' That's what two-year-olds say. What was I trying to prove?"
Claire told herself she didn't want to feel helpless and have others see her as helpless — or worse, needy — so she tried to stay in control by doing everything herself. That made her appear ungracious and slightly ridiculous.
"Now I realize that part of the reason I didn't want to accept any help is because I wanted to be able to feel superior to people who need help, but feeling superior is a lonely state," Claire admitted. "I'd prefer to take a little help now and then so I can be part of the community, even if it means I'm not better than other people."
As with rejecting gifts, rejecting help will also deny the helper the please of knowing she's/he's lightened your load."Since listening to Seth Godin's interview with Krista Tippett, the word "tribe" has stuck in my head. I want to find my tribe and stop chasing after the masses. Right now, I'm already surrounding myself by people who are offering to give of their attention and hearts, which to me, is a new experience in learning how to receive. But, just like how trees around us didn't sprout to their current height right out of the seedling, this act of surrendering and receiving takes nourishing growth, and the more I water it with mindful attention and care, the more I'll learn how to become majestic in this way.