Recently I was in the grocery store doing our weekly shopping. The store seemed excessively crowded as I weaved my cart through the aisles. After more than an hour, I reached the checkout line and began to place all 300 hundred of my items on the belt to be scanned. The bagger carefully loaded the groceries into the cart, balancing the bags like a Jenga game. As I was turning to leave, the he asked me, “Do you need any help out?”
Without thinking, I said “No thank you. I’ve got it.” With that I pushed the 500 pound cart toward my car. After twenty minutes of loading the groceries into the car, I slid behind the steering wheel and let out a sigh. All of the sudden those words echoed in my head, “No thank you, I’ve got it?”
How many times have I said that? The truth was that I did need help. I just didn’t tell him. As women we often take the weight of the world on our shoulders – working, family responsibilities, housekeeping, relationships – and when life offers a curve ball, we put our heads down and press on, refusing to ask for help along the way. Why is it so hard to ask for help?
About 15 years ago, I was given a crash course in this importance of asking for help. I was pregnant with our second child when I received the news that I had cancer. In an instant my life was turned upside-down. Instead of days filled with play dates and naps with my toddler, I was catapulted into a life filled with appointments, treatments, and hospital visits. There were some days when I was so weak from treatments that I couldn’t even hold my toddler. I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. At that time, I was a part of a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and those women gathered together to support me in incredible ways. They brought me meals, watched my son, prayed for me, drove me to appointments, and sat with my during chemotherapy appointments, and celebrated with me during the birth of our daughter. Those women cared for me when I couldn’t care for myself. I was so needy during that time, that I didn’t have the luxury of saying, “No thank you, I’ve got it.”
The truth is that sometimes we feel more comfortable helping others, than being helped. When we don’t ask for help, we miss a gift. Being on the receiving end might require humility and transparency, but it also builds deeper friendships. Friendship isn’t a one way street – helping goes both ways. We get to serve each other. I will never forget the acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity from the MOPS moms. I’m a different person because of it.
Life is full of overloaded carts. Choose to accept help from others. In doing so, you will be getting the help you need and giving the gift of true friendship.
Trina Pockett is a speaker, author, and non-profit leader. Her new book Unexpected: Grit, Grace, and Life In Between can be found at www.trinapockett.com. Connect with Trina on Twitter @trinapockett.