Saturday, September 28, 2013


I might have to call TFBS on Brene Brown's claim, after all. I'm not sure I can get behind her statement that if you can't ask for help, your giving comes with judgment.

Some of my friends and readers have made some compelling arguments - many of us used to  ask for help, but the help came with too high a price, or we were let down, the problem made bigger, the help not helpful, the disappointment greater than the cost of going without the help.

We've been burned by "help."

Did I tell you about my hairdresser? She had this freak accident and ended up tearing her meniscus in her left knee, as well as really chewing up the bottom of her big toe. Walking was very painful and standing on her feet (which she does all day) was awful. She improvised, she brought in a chair to sit on, she got a brace, she did what she could. She met with her psychic friend, and the psychic said, "You injured your left side because the left side is our receptive side. You must learn to receive."

Every other hair dresser in the salon, as well as the receptionist, had offered to help. "Let me know if you need any help!" they said. She didn't "let them know," and eventually they just set about creating a system for her to reduce, if not eliminate, her going back and forth in the salon all day. Eventually, she conceded to the need for surgery, and they called all her clients and rescheduled everyone that was booked during the week she'd need to take off, and helped with the overflow.

She received.

I think at least half of the problem in the giving game is receiving help, not just asking for it. If I have judgments about giving, that's where they are - in my worthiness to receive. My judgments come in the form of deciding what others that offer help, can and cannot manage, and what is and is not too trivial, mundane and silly to even bother them with. I've got Nancy buying me things at Costco when she goes, and a friend ordering wine at wholesale prices for me. I feel guilty each time.

Guilty? What did I "do?" They offered, I accepted. I need a little judgement about that dynamic.


Kathryn Johansen said...

I so get this, Carrie. I feel the same way, as if I am too needy, and just a great burden to people if I do receive, and my sister is wonderful about getting things for me I need for me and my son, and wants me to give her my grocery list but I just could not POSSIBLY give her that,(it's too much, too many brands she would have to hunt for) and I, too, judge what other people can handle, like babysitting my son, when they offer. XO

kario said...

The eclass I'm taking right now sparked a discussion about this very thing the other day - asking for help without offering reciprocity. Recognizing that it will all work out in the end - maybe you'll help that person later, or maybe you'll pay it forward to someone else, but knowing that right now, you needing help is okay. I chose to think about Brene's claim as congruent with this phenomenon. I do have judgment about asking for help sometimes, because I don't often judge that I am worthy of it.

One thing I am reminded of is how good it feels to help someone else out, no matter how big or small the 'help.' Who am I to deny someone else the opportunity to feel that way about helping me? I make a conscious choice not to do things for other people that make me mad or resentful and I have to believe that others will help me unreservedly as well when it's my turn. I'd like to say I've got it down, but it's going to take a lot of practice.

Love. said...

I love when you call TFBS on things.


lily cedar said...

I suck at asking for help. I hate feeling needy. I've struggled with feeling worthless my whole life, undeserving of attention or love.