13 March 2006

Helping

A friend of mine just called, a local friend who lives just a few minutes away from me and GH but who we rarely see due to all of our busy schedules. She'd just gotten caught up on e-mail and seen the update I posted to our Yahoo group about GH's nosebleed. She was worried about us and called to check in. It was so nice to hear from her. She's one of the most genuine, caring people I know, and she and GH have known each other for their entire lives. Their dads came over to the States from Korea together after med school, and their families navigated the difficult world of being first-generation immigrants together.

This friend offered to bring dinner over to GH and I tonight. I briefly felt guilty about accepting--we're doing fine this week--but then I reminded myself of something my dad says: you're doing someone a favor when you let them help you.

I've never liked accepting help from people. My mom--the adult child of two alcoholic parents--learned herself and then taught me well that help is for the weak. The world can be a difficult place, and a person needs to be able to get by on her own or she'll be eaten alive. Between that and being an only child, fending for myself is second nature. (As an aside, my mom loves to help and care for other people; she is one of the most generous people I've ever known. She just doesn't know how to take any of that help in return.)

I've worked hard over the years, through various channels that I'll surely someday write about, to learn how to allow people to help me. My dad has been an important part of that learning process for me. As my life has taken turns that have led me to situations that I truly can't manage on my own, I've tried to keep my dad's words in mind and let people do things for me and GH. I try to think about how I like to be able to do things for my friends, how I truly want to help them when I can and ease their burden. It only makes sense that they'd want to do the same for me.

It's hard not to let help make me feel like a failure, like I can't handle things. But I'm working on it. For tonight, I'm focusing on the fact that I won't have to cook dinner and that I'll get to see a friend. Seems like a pretty unbeatable deal.

6 comments:

lct said...

Your dad is wise.

Badger said...

Having to accept help from others has been incredibly difficult for me too. I am always relieved when people just do things, however, as opposed to me having to ask for assistance.

Take the help, Snickollet. People want to help.

Much love to you & yours...

weigook saram said...

It's so important to learn to accept help. When my FIL was sick, my husband's extended family really came through for us, to an extent that made me almost uncomfortable at times. But I was so grateful for it, because made us feel less alone in our ordeal.

Also, I think accepting help is good practice for motherhood. I know when I feel supported (whether by my husband, friends, or family), I am a much better mother.

Christine said...

I have a total problem asking for help, Snick. I want to have what one of my writers calls John Wayne-style individualism, doing it all MYSELF. But then I get myself into a mess and can't dig out on my own. It takes a lot for me to submit enough to say, I can't handle this.

I admire you a lot for your courage and grace under this much pressure. Keep on keeping on, and keep on blogging. :)

OTRgirl said...

That's such a hard pattern to change. I like how your Dad said it, but the inside gut reaction is so deep and set that it's very hard to over ride.

Good job letting go.

Anonymous said...

It IS true. By letting someone do something nice for you you are giving something to that person. I hope you have learned that lesson by now.

Being nice is a reward. Enjoy.