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Friday, April 20, 2012

Weak Days - Yes to Help Part 2

If the lesson in Julie’s recent blog, Say Yes to Help, ( ) was that accepting help is good, today’s blog digs a little deeper into what it takes to surrender and admit you need that help.   

A friend of mine likes to say, “You can make plans but you cannot plan outcomes.”  

On Friday the 13th I had PLANS. Out of bed and on the computer by 5 a.m., outside before 6 for my morning walk, stop at 2 neighborhood yard-sales on my way back home, shower and leave for work by 7:30 a.m.  

What I did not plan was tripping a few minutes into my walk and falling literally flat on my face.   

If you know my history of broken leg bones, you can appreciate that the really good news is I did not break a bone. However, I can now tell you unequivocally, it not the best way to start the day when your face slams into concrete. When I got to a mirror 5 or 10 minutes after falling, my eyelid was already nasty shades of purple-blue and appeared to have a walnut stuffed under it. A sane person wiping the blood off her cheek might have said, “I probably need to call in sick for work and get medical help.”   

What did I do? I called a coworker for a ride to work, because I was scheduled to teach a 3 hour leadership course and could not imagine letting them down, backing down on my commitment, inconveniencing someone to replace me—even though it was possible I had a head injury and looked, well, hideous. In my defense, at least I had the good sense to know it might not be wise to drive!  

It took my husband, my boss and several coworkers to convince me to put my health first, go to Urgent Care and SURRENDER to the fact that I could not go to work.

Why do I find it so hard to SURRENDER?  

I need to constantly remind myself, it is not weak to be vulnerable and accept help. No matter how much I hate disappointing others or reneging on a commitment, or want to think of myself as in control and unshakable, there are times I have to be humble enough to say, enough, uncle, I cannot do this, I give.

It is not weak to be vulnerable. In fact, it takes a lot of courage.  

When is the last time you found the courage to be weak?


  1. As someone who shares your history of fractures, I am so glad that no bones were broken in the fall!

    Many of us were brought up to believe that we could do it all by ourselves, and most of us find that we can't. Maybe your final question should be "When is the last time you found the courage to ask for help" since you're right - it isn't a weakness. I learned valuable lessons about this during months in a wheelchair after my falls. Remember that it empowers others when we ask for their help. Libby Jacobs

  2. Carol, I am SO glad you did not break anything. And I'm glad to hear about someone else's struggle with accepting help. Today, someone called me to ask for help, and I felt so good that they had asked me, it reinforced how asking for help can actually help the other person. I love that idea. I say it's progress that you asked someone to drive you :)

    Hope you're feeling better.

  3. Libby, viewing the world from a wheelchair definitely changed my perspective...and Jim jokes it cost us a new kitchen because I was eye level with all the flaws in the formica :)
    and, back to my question. What if being weak, is not a weakness?

    Julie, yesterday, the friend I asked for the ride needed a favor. It did feel good that she felt comfortable asking, and that I could do something to return her kindness

  4. Carol, I am glad I read these posts about accepting help from you and Julie. It reinforces so many things we know about what makes people successful and happy. We like to have autonomy in our life -- feeling that we are in control. We like to do things that use our talents and strengths, a feeling of competence. And finally, we need to have connections to others. You and Julie have shown that accepting help has been a blessing on so many levels. I will keep it in mind next time I am faced with similar challenges. Hope your shiner fades quickly.

  5. So pleased to hear that nothing was broken apart from maybe a little dignity. Giving help and accepting help is something that binds us togther in friendship or community and reminds us that we can't live in a bubble.

  6. Chris and Isobel, thanks for reminders that asking for and giving help creates friendship and community.

    ps. love the line about broken dignity...luckily in my case, it repaired more quickly than a broken bone :)

  7. I always have to remind myself to accept help when offered. I think it's a mystery why most of us having trouble doing this. Sharing favors bonds people, helps form strong relationships and makes both the giver and receiver feel wonderful. Thanks for the reminder and I'm so glad you didn't break a bone.

    1. thanks Peggy, Nice to know I am not alone in the hard to accept help boat.