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“No, no, I can manage”

A recent interaction with a young mom has me thinking a great deal about our reflexive reluctance to accept even the simplest form of help when it is offered. My brief exchange with this woman made a lasting impression.

Dave and I had walked into town for lunch and as we approached our destination, I noticed a young woman pushing an old-fashioned, larger-than-usual baby carriage. The woman was walking towards us and when she was about six feet away, she turned to enter a store. I moved quickly toward the storefront door as I watched the woman struggle to hold it open and make her way into the store. She seemed surprised when I opened the door and held it for her as she navigated the big carriage through the entryway. When I then reached to open the inner second door, which was beyond her reach, the young woman said, “No, no, I can manage.” It was an immediate and automatic reaction, clearly not one she considered before she spoke.

“Yes, I see you can manage,” I replied. “And you can manage even more easily if I hold this door for you.” A brief exchange, yet one that still has me wondering why so many of us reflexively refuse help when it is offered. Why is it so important to show that we are totally self-sufficient even when a little help would make a big difference? I think about myself, my family, friends, and total strangers, like the young mother with the cumbersome baby carriage, and about how many times we refuse the help of those who are willing and able to help us. I have started to notice how often I do this, and am becoming aware of how it feels to spontaneously and gratefully accept help when it is offered. What I notice most of all is how my first reaction is very rarely these words – “Yes, thank you very much. I appreciate your help.” I’m working on it, and will greatly appreciate your thoughts and advice on gratefully and reflexively accepting help.

Related posts:

“Learning To Say Yes” by Claudia Schmidt

“Saying Goodbye to the Little Red Hen”

Photo Credit: © Alina Datsyuk | Dreamstime.com

16 Responses to “No, no, I can manage”

  1. Maria Rivera June 11, 2017 at 12:11 am #

    Hi Sharon-great topic for reflection. Yes, often we say no because we don’t want others to be bothered with our, what seems at the time, simple tasks not stopping to think, 1) we may be stopping the other person from fulfilling a karma in their lives, or 2) learning to accept a “gift” with grace. We must always remember we are all connected in someway and our spirit grows and feeds off of one another. Oh how peaceful this world would be if we let down our defenses long enough to truly understand we need one another.
    As with the “gift”, thank you for this reflection. I will do my best from now on to be mindful and accepting of a helping hand.

    • sharon June 11, 2017 at 7:07 am #

      Maria, thanks very much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I especially love this point… “Oh how peaceful this world would be if we let down our defenses long enough to truly understand we need one another.” Accepting help may be as important as offering it.

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

  2. Jacqueline April 29, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    I find my younger self in the automatic comments of the young mother. Sometimes as women we are raised that to be self sufficient is to demonstrate great strength. Not needing others but possessing the ability to do it yourself. I think it’s an important life lesson it’s okay to not only receive help that is offered but also to ask for help when we need it. Sharon the observation and reflection is important and timely. No no I can manage can mean much more in life then I got this. Thank you for sharing. You always provide good food for thought.

    • sharon April 29, 2017 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks so much for your comments, Jacqueline. You raise a very important point about not only accepting help but also asking for help when we need it. This is often hard to do. And your comment about how we are raised to be self-sufficient resonates with me. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

  3. Kate Denby April 25, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    When someone, friend or stranger, offers you help, they are actually giving you a gift…a gift of themselves. We would never refuse someone who offers us a materail gift so why would we refuse this intangible gift? Perhaps because we think we don’t deserve such a gift? It’s complicated, but worth examining. My hunch is that our impulse to say, “No,” is deep seeded and requires a bit of introspection. In the meantime, let’s start changing old patterns and just say, “Yes,” when someone offers a helping hand.

    Thank you, Sharon, once again for providing food for thought.

    • sharon April 25, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your comments, Kate. I love your thought that “When someone, friend or stranger, offers you help, they are actually giving you a gift…a gift of themselves.” And I agree that most of our automatic responses require examination, so I join you in a new commitment to changing old patterns.

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

  4. Claudia Schmidt April 24, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    This is a beautiful post, Sharon. I so admire the fact that you are on a journey of self discovery and continue to open yourself to seeing the world with a new lens. I have found that accepting help from others is actually a sign of great strength as it is only when we can acknowledge and share our vulnerability that we are truly ourselves. Sending love, hugs and gratitude to you!

    • sharon April 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

      Thanks so much for these comments, Claudia, and for the encouragement to “acknowledge and share our vulnerability.” Still on this long, long journey of self-discovery, and so grateful for your wisdom along the way!

      xoxoxo

      Sharon

  5. Helen Tai April 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi Sharon – the other reason to accept help is that people who offer to help usually genuinely want to help. We are actually giving them a gift – allowing them to be generous and to open their heart to others. If their interaction with us is positive, it will encourage them to help more people. I think when we accept the help of a stranger or friend, we are also helping to create a more loving and compassionate world. So thanks for helping me with your posts! Love to you, Helen

    • sharon April 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      Helen, thanks very much for taking the time to share your perspective on reasons to accept help. It is interesting to look at this as a gift, and as a way of helping create a more loving and compassionate world. I’m all in!

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

  6. Amy April 24, 2017 at 8:27 am #

    Hi Sharon, I appreciate this post. It is a good thing accepting help, it makes you mindful about both giving and receiving. Plus you never know who will offer you what you need.

    • sharon April 24, 2017 at 8:30 am #

      Thanks so much for your comments, Amy. I really appreciate your point that accepting help “makes you mindful about both giving and receiving” – like a beautiful balance in the universe!

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

  7. Karen April 24, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    Very interesting interaction Sharon. I wonder if interdependence now connotes weakness. There’s a sense in that encounter that she’s trying to take back her power ( perhaps she’s feeling overwhelmed), or she’s reluctant out of fear of feeling beholden to someone…Thanks for sharing…XO, Karen

    • sharon April 24, 2017 at 8:20 am #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your perspective, Karen. You raise an important question about whether “interdependence now connotes weakness.” I certainly hope not, but it is certainly possible. And as for feeling overwhelmed, we canals understanding THAT feeling!

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

  8. Kendall April 24, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    Sharon,
    THANK YOU for this important reminder on how important it is to accept help and not to be afraid to ask for assistance when needed. You coached me to do this myself….I can’t imagine where I’d be without that learning.
    For all those reading, accepting help is actually a sign of strength not weakness. And it engages others in ways you can never accomplish if you go the road alone.

    • sharon April 24, 2017 at 8:23 am #

      Kendall, thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I love your reminder that “accepting help is actually a sign of strength not weakness. And it engages others in ways you can never accomplish if you go the road alone.” And going the road together can be so much more rewarding!

      With love, hugs and gratitude,

      Sharon

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