I have a hard time asking others for help. Ever since I was a tiny little girl I've been fiercely independent. "I do it all by myself," two year old me would sternly scold whenever offered assistance. Even as an adult, "Do you need any help, Chrissy?" Is usually met with a- "Nope! I'm good, thanks!" For many I've HAD to do things all on my own. As we grow up we learn how to depend on ourself financially, mentally, physically. The more I relied on myself the more I started to see needing help as a sign of weakness or inadequacy.
And then came parenting... and they aren't lying about it taking a village. But still I tried to be my own village. I was afraid to need someone else. If I were a good Mom I would be able to do it all on my own, right? WRONGO. It's still so hard for me, but I am learning-painfully practicing asking for help. Practicing saying- I need you. Many months ago my friend Annie and I were having a heart to heart about what friendship means to us- because so many people have such incredibly different definitions. My heart has been broken by a few different inconsistencies in that definition. I said to her- "I'm going to try and let myself need you because I know that's part of truly being friends with someone and I want us to be REAL friends. I will TRY and tell you when I need help- and I'm awful at that- so if I do- I need you to show up. Even if it's incredibly inconvenient for you. And I want you to tell me when you need help too because I want the opportunity to be there too."
I'm still practicing. When I do things for someone else it's never with the expectation that I will get something in return. I do it because it feels wonderful and it's important to me to give to others in ways that I can. I think giving is easier than receiving. When someone does something over the top nice for me I don't know how to handle it. My first thought is usually- THIS FEELS AWFUL. (Most likely the OPPOSITE of the givers intentions- right?!) How soon can I pay this back? I wonder. What can I do for them? But I can't always pay it back. Not everyone is good at everything. Doing something for others is not about keeping score. It's not about owing. It's a vital part of humankind. Sometimes the only appropriate thing to do when someone does something for you is simply- be grateful.
And if you stink at that- practice. PRACTICE MAKES AWESOME. Look around for opportunities to be grateful. Once you start looking- it's everywhere. ABUNDANCE.
I want my boys to be as independent as possible- but I also want them to accept the help from others. I don't want them to feel bad or less than or like they owe someone something. I just want them to feel happy and taken care of and grateful. I want to learn to feel that too.
Sometimes the opposite of receiving isn't giving, it's grateful.
Last week we went to a Farm Market that is part of Fresno State University. They have some of the best ice cream in town.
Afterwards we visited the cows across the street to say thank you. A university with a farm on it- how crazy is that?
THANK YOU COWS! YOUR ICE CREAM IS DELICIOUS!
I want my boys to be aware and appreciative of the gifts we receive, and I want them to be grateful. I don't want them to feel entitled or guilty or like they owe somebody something- I simply want them to feel amazed and grateful.