I have a constant battle with my 96 year old mother.
She’s one of those “Greatest Generation” people. All she really ever wants to do is help others.
This morning our conversation about a friend of hers went something like this…
“I want to help my friend get a lanyard attached to her phone like I do, she says she can’t do it, but I know it will help her. So…I have a piece of string in my purse that will work…and we need to get her a lanyard, then I want to go over to her house and give her the string and show her that it works”
“Mom…how old is your friend?”
“She’s just a kid, she’s in her 70’s…”
She’s constantly coming up with ideas to help others, to make their lives easier, to assist them in some way. She would still be out there volunteering and assisting if she didn’t have to depend on me for transportation and to be her legs, eyes and ears,
But still she wants to help.
What makes her crazy, however, is receiving help.
She doesn’t want to do it. She’s been forced to…but she doesn’t enjoy it.
I tell her constantly, that she’s earned it, that it’s ok to receive, that people WANT to help just like she does.
And I tell you this so that I can tell you another story about Robert, the maintenance guy.
We rent our home. I had an issue with my toilet the other day, so we put in a maintenance request. Robert came over to take care of it, along with a whole bunch of other stuff that he noticed needed fixing, like the fan in my bathroom.
I work from my bedroom on my laptop, so I was right there with him and chatting back and forth while he was doing the repairs.
He needed to rinse something off and turned on my sink only to discover that the water was coming out in a trickle,
He said “oh, you need your aerator changed, I’ll grab one for you when I go to the store and we’ll get that fixed too”
I said thank you, I’d been meaning to get to that.
Then he noticed my sink wasn’t draining.
He said he would go ahead and fix that.
I said “no, that’s ok, you don’t need to, I’ll just get some draino”
He said “I’m here and I have my tools out”
I said “Ok…but it’s gonna be gross…”
And then I said out loud to him “now I know why my mom always refuses help…”
And I do…
It’s the shame of receiving help.
My sink is gross and I’m ashamed of that. Never mind that I’ve lived here for 7 years and have barely ever put in a maintenance request. Never mind that Robert’s job entails sometimes dealing with gross things.
What if he thinks I’m gross?? Maybe it’s my fault…I shouldn’t have let it get this way. I should have done better.
Even as I write this, I am rolling my eyes…
Because I grudgingly “allowed” Robert to fix my issues, I can now use my sink to wash my hands…and the water drains!
I never even realized that every time I had to use the kitchen sink to wash my hands or watched my sink slowly drain, I was costing myself valuable mental energy. But I was…my sink issues cost me a little bit of mental fatigue every time I tried to use it. And what’s worse, I thought that it was my fault anyway, so i wasn’t deserving of help.
Too often, we fail to examine our thoughts. We simply allow them to float willy nilly in our brains without question, and soon they become a belief and beliefs are much harder to expel than random thoughts. Beliefs are often buried deep in our subconscious and we don’t discover them until a situation arises like a maintenance guy who can fix your sink in no time, when you’ve been patiently ignoring it for months.
The point is…and let me constantly remind you of this…
It’s ok to not know how to do something and it is ok to accept help from someone who does EVEN if the situation is of your own making.
We all have our areas of expertise. Sure…Robert knows how to fix things…but does he know how to fix hearts, does he know how to offer comfort, does he know how to listen empathically??
These are things I do well…but I can’t fix a sink. So what? I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter that much.
There is no need for shame, except to use it as a guiding light that leads you to healing.
Things to consider:
Is there something that needs to be fixed in your home? Write it down and make a plan to fix it.
Seriously…look around…is there a pile of “stuff” that needs to be moved? Does your bathroom trash need to be emptied? Relieve yourself of the energy of unfinished tasks or broken things…these drain your energy.
Have you had a situation in which someone needed your help which you gladly gave? What can you learn from this? Remember; according to the Law of Compensation, giving and receiving are the same…don’t deny others the blessing of being able to give to you!