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.
“Learning To Say Yes” by Claudia Schmidt
Photo Credit: © Alina Datsyuk | Dreamstime.com