Thursday, 24 November 2016

Saying No

One of the things I have been forced to do a lot this year is ask for help. 
There are a range of things I ask for help for. At the moment, I need help with some very important things, like going to the shops to buy food. Then there are semi-important things to do, like cleaning out the chicken shed or vacuuming the floor. They can can get by without being done, but I don't really feel good about leaving the chooks living in huge piles of their own poo, and having a clean floor just makes life so much more pleasant. Then there are things that probably aren't that important, but I feel a societal pressure to do, like keeping the lawn vaguely under control. And things I just want to get done, such as planting more flowers around the frogpond, because it would look nice and make me happier. 

Figuring out the line between where I need to let go of control, and where to ask people for help can be hard. Food is obvious, the others more ambiguous. 

A lot of people are really easy to ask. They will bend over backwards to help, but sometimes at their own expense. 

Sometimes people agree to help, but only grudgingly, without pleasure. Sometimes people don't reply to my messages. And other times people give very long winded excuses and exhausting apologies as to why they can't help, and I need to spend a lot of energy reassuring them that i's okay, don't feel bad, I understand, etc. etc. 

Being the asker can become a very exhausting occupation filled with self doubt. I don't want to take advantage of and overwhelm the overly-generous people. Yet receiving a grudging yes or a really long winded apology, immediately sends me down a pit of worry and regret. "Maybe I shouldn't have asked, maybe I'm being too presumptuous, trying to control things too much, asking too much. Maybe I didn't phrase the request very well, maybe they don't understand how sick I actually am..." 

I thought that asking for help might be a whole lot easier if everybody was better at, and felt okay about saying no. Saying no, without feeling guilty, and with only a simple apology and a simple excuse, if at all. 

Even if we didn't understand why, we could all trust that our family and friends, had their reasons to say no and accept them. 

Anyway, Millie, the asking for help expert, drew a cartoon about it for me. 

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