It’s an interesting concept, the idea that accepting help from others actually makes us better able to serve people in the future. And even though it might sound a bit backwards—after all, if I want to be known for serving others, I certainly can’t expect anyone to serve me, right?—I think it’s true.

For many of us, accepting help is harder than it sounds. It requires humility and being willing to admit we need help. It takes letting go of the control and allowing someone else to step in and perhaps do things there way. And it calls for a vulnerability that is frankly uncomfortable, like stripping naked in front of a crowd.

But when we do ask for and accept help, whether that’s emotionally, financially or physically, we open ourselves up to the people around us, which builds stronger relationships and gives us a new perspective.

Receiving help also makes us more sensitive to other people who may need help in the future. This is easy to see if you think about specific examples. For example, if you’re put on bed rest for a pregnancy and need someone to come in and help you clean, you then have more compassion for others who are put on bedrest. And because you had to be vulnerable and let someone into your home when it was less than perfect, you’re more likely to be sensitive to the feelings surrounding that and less judgmental of whatever mess you do find.

For those of us who pride ourselves on self-sufficiency, though, this is easier said than done. And being unwilling to admit that you need help—or to accept help when it’s offered—can also set you up to serve others from a place of superiority rather than humility: “I didn’t need help when I was on bedrest; why does she?”

None of us would want to admit out loud that that’s how we feel, but it’s a real danger if we resist asking for help because of our pride.

There’s something really beautiful about allowing others to step in and help you. It’s a gift that gives more than the physical task at hand, and accepting that help makes us better, more generous people as well.

ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever been in a position to ask or accept help from other people? Was it easy or hard for you to do that? How did it change your relationships with those people?
  2. Does pride prevent you from asking for help when you really want or need it? How can you practice asking someone for help this week?
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