Sometimes the answer is as simple and as complex as asking for help. Why is it in this day and age that we as humans find such a simple thing as asking for help so dang complicated?
The answer to that is simple. . . fear. Fear of judgement. Fear of rejection. Fear people will think we are incompetent, or won’t take us seriously. Fear we won’t get the help if we do ask for it. Fear is a powerful emotion. In it’s useful form it can keep us from mortal danger, our body intrinsically sending us into a fight or flight response so we can protect ourselves from harm. In other forms it can cause us to freeze like a deer in headlights or in it’s most irrational form can cause us to develop a phobia.
Asking for help is not something that should ever be frowned upon. People who ask for help are brave! John Wooden said “We’re all imperfect and we all have needs. The weak usually do not ask for help, so they stay weak. If we recognize that we are imperfect, we will ask for help and we will pray for the guidance necessary to bring positive results to whatever we are doing.”
My personal theory is to take a deep breath and ask for help when you need it. The worst possible outcome of asking for help is that the person you ask can say no, they won’t help you, which means you are not better or worse off than before you asked. If the person says yes and does assist you, the aid they give could considerably change your situation for the better. Most people are willing to assist when a request for assistance is made. (It’s almost as hard to say no to helping someone as it is difficult to ask for help.)
When asking for help keep a few things in mind.
1. Know what you want to ask. Be direct and specific with your request for help. People are not mind readers. Asking for help is similar to setting goals in that requests should be specific, measurable and time bound.
2. Don’t assume people are all on a level playing field. Everyone has different areas of expertise. For the most part people do not know everything you know and you do not know everything they know. In asking for help you are asking someone to share their personal knowledge and expertise, and in asking for help you may both learn something.
3. Help is a two way street. Don’t just ask for help but help foster a community where help is encouraged by also offering help or by giving help to others when the requests are made of you.
If we all take a little time to help each other great things happen!!! I’ll end with a quote from Cesar Chavez “You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.” This folks, is simple truth.
I used to be a little OCD when it came to cleaning. When I had the kiddo it took me a little while to find balance and peace with learning to be okay with mess. I still struggle sometimes and if I take a day off I will spend most of the “free” time cleaning but for the most part I’ve learned how to be okay with some mess. This is what I’ve learned that helps.
1. There is a difference between dirt and clutter. The war against dirt is never ending, there will always be more dirt. (Be warned if you have pets and a kiddo never fail when you finally do mop the floor in less than 24 hours all that effort was a waste because the dog just artfully placed muddy footprints all over the floor.) The war against clutter can be won in small battles in learning how to organize and downsizing of stuff.
2. There is no such thing as too much storage and creativity is helpful. (Especially when you live in a 1950’s house that has all of three closets one of which houses the water heater).
3. More people than you think use some type of cleaning service, so if your house isn’t as clean as so-in-so’s especially if they have small children they are either insane and never sleep, they waste time cleaning when they could be enjoying time with their littles or they hire out. So don’t compare your situation to theirs, really, it’s a waste of frustration.
4. Dishes in the sink overnight won’t hurt anything. I learned this one from my husband, because sometimes after dinner it’s straight to chasing the kiddo…Leaving Dishes sit does make them harder to clean sometimes, but I seriously doubt anyone has ever died from leaving dishes to sit overnight. If you can’t stand looking at them avoid the kitchen. (That’s what I do).
5. I’ve tried chore lists and “it only takes 20 minutes a day to keep your house clean” tips, and have come to the conclusion that the only two tips I’ve used that seem to work for me are: Do one load of laundry a day andIf you take it out, put it away. If I actually utilize these tips it seems to make life easier. Because really I’ve timed it and it takes more than 20 minutes to mop the 3 very small tiled area’s of my house, clean all the sinks and toilets, dust, etc … I just clean what I can, when I can.
Lastly, if you have an impending event that you will be hosting at your home you can always plan the week ahead of time to makes sure everything you want to have clean is cleaned, you could do like me and pull and all nighter the night before or hire out to have the house cleaned, just this once.
One thing I’ve learned is that simple thoughtful gestures can really make a difference in someone’s life, and honestly they make you feel good too.
I love getting Christmas Cards. I love the ones that have pictures of families inside or on the cover so I can see friends who are locationally challenged. I try my darndest to make sure I send out Christmas Cards every year (I will inevitably forget someone, and have at least one sent back because I was dyslexic in penning the address.) but I try because I believe the recipients truly appreciate them as much as I do. I try to remember to send birthday cards or at least send some form of birthday wishes to remind my friends I care. I love sending baby butt balm and name flags to new mom’s. I might send a token and a card to someone whose parent has just passed. Perhaps I’ll send a book to someone going through a rough time, or pass along a book I’ve read just so someone else can enjoy it. Little gestures like this can really make someone’s day. Even something as small as smiling at a stranger, holding a door or elevator or picking up something a child has dropped in the grocery store when the mother is also wearing an infant. All of these things are small, minute really, but when you do them it can really make someone’s day.
So I challenge you. Do something simple today to make someone’s day. As my very inspirational friend Cathy would say “Throw kindness around like confetti” and see what happens.