February 11, 2014
Sometimes We Really Do Need Help!
When people see me in what seems an awkward or difficult situation, they naturally ask if I need a hand. For decades I automatically declined any offer of help for two reasons:
1. I’ve always been stubbornly independent – and proud of it.
2. I felt it critically important to be as self-sufficient as possible – in every way.
As the years pass, my attitudes about independence and assistance are shifting. In the first place, if I’m honest, I am recognizing that I really do need help sometimes.
- It’s nice to have someone load my groceries in the car at the supermarket.
- If my hands are full, some help in opening the door really does come in handy.
- I really do need the offer of a seat at a crowded event.
- When I fall, it is hard to get up by myself.
Independence is a valuable personal characteristic. Taken to the extreme, it can be foolhardy and dangerous – and it can make me appear arrogant.
My hair is slowly turning gray. Just as slowly, I am realizing that folks who offer to help are not pitying me or attempting to rob me of my independence; they are simply trying to be considerate and helpful. Before refusing an offer of help, I would do well to consider whether I am coming across as independent or simply stubborn.
My advice: Balance independence and realistic use of help from others.
I’m glad that – however slowly – I am coming to realize that I lose nothing when I accept help. In fact, by doing so, I may be helping both of us understand each other better.
Guest blogger Alan Flynn of Sacramento has cerebral palsy and grew up in a small farming community in the Midwest, the middle child in a family of five boys. He has two adult daughters and a new grandson. Through his writing, he hopes to challenge himself and others to reach new goals in every aspect of our lives and gain self-understanding and enthusiasm for the opportunities waiting for us.