I have a really hard time admitting that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Sometimes I wonder if I actually enjoy being overwhelmed by the currents of life in a weird, sadistic kind of way that begins with a simple eye twitch and quickly escalates to fetal-position hysteria (and is it any wonder that my parents nicknamed me Sarah Bernhardt because of my dramatic flair?!).
I read a beautifully delicious blog post the other day by Sheryl of How to Make a Life called Why You Need to Ask for a Favor and it made me very…. thinky. Particularly this amazing quote she included by Benjamin Franklin:
“If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.”
It’s one of those catchphrases that stayed with me. I began to think of friendships that have crumbled, relationships that ended in scorn, and familial bonds (almost) irreparably broken. Why? Because I had either offered help and was rebuked or someone had tried to lift my load and I shushed them away.
Helping out a friend—or partner—in need doesn’t have to be a large, sweeping gesture. Simply offering a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, or a quick hug when someone is experiencing a monumentally fucked up day can do wonders for your soul as well as the recipient’s.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a control freak in the kitchen. I find immense pleasure in creating a vegetarian dish worth raving about. So when Bryan asks if I need help, I often tell him no, that I have everything under control.
Until I didn’t the other day because I saw him sitting on the couch while I rummaged for pots and pans, spices and measurement cups and I thought, what harm would it do to invite him in? (Also it kind of annoyed me that he was just sitting there, watching a show about fast cars while here I am, running around in the kitchen. The crap is that about??).
Anyway, before you know it, we were working together to create a minestrone and we came up with smart substitutions (because heaven forbid I should have all ingredients on hand); he washed the beans and cleaned up the mess… and you know what? It was nice to have him there beside me.
Obviously this is about something bigger than just cooking soup.
What if we all admitted to ourselves (and our partners) that their help is appreciated? Could it make a difference in our relationships?
Here’s why I say yes:
- Helping others has been proven to dampen the effects of everyday stress
- It enforces togetherness
- It will help lighten our load, meaning more time to do the things we enjoy
- We can no longer point fingers and feel resentful at our spouses because they aren’t chipping in.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you like to ask for help from others? Leave your answers below!