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Accepting Assistance

Accepting Assistance

Help. Such a small word, yet so hard to accept. Think about how many times you've proffered advice to a sibling, best friend or partner only to have it thrown back at you with excuse after excuse of why it just won't work. Aggravating, to say the least. I mean, why would people ask for your expertise and knowledge if they aren't going to use it? Some nerve...

Before you go getting all steamed, it's time for a gut-check. Can you take advice the way you dish it out? Sure, it's easy to serve someone a healthy portion of What I'd Do, but when the tables are turned can you listen to what's being said, or are you on your own trajectory, determined to stay your course at all costs?

Uh-huh. We thought so, because we do it too. The good news is that you can get out of your own way, and learn to help others navigate change a little more easily in the process. When you're giving (or taking) advice or help, remember these things, courtesy writer Martha Beck:

Be loving. Pile on the compliments like "You're totally capable" or "I know you'll do the right thing." Be a cheerleader, full of change optimism. It seems like it might be annoying (and, let's face it, it might be) but it'll stop the complaining on either end and bring about acceptance of change more quickly.

Be disinterested. Men are especially good at this one. It's the ability to separate facts from feelings. Acknowledge that you heard the complaint, and then move the conversation into something else entirely. "Gosh, that does sound bad. Do you know where I left my wallet?" Another way to do this is unfettered sarcasm. "Oh, my gosh, that is the worst. thing. ever." It sounds harsh, but for those constant negative nellies (and for the times you can't work yourself out of a poor-me pattern) it works like gangbusters.

Be constructive. If neither loving or ignoring work for you, try to really genuinely listen and lead. Simply ask what kind of help is needed and then try to provide it. If someone just wants you to listen, do it. If they want advice, give it. Be sincere so that you'll get to the real heart of the matter...you'll find that it's easier to articulate real desires if the response is real concern.

Changing the way you think about accepting help from others, as well as the way you give it, can have a profound effect on your life and the lives of others. Think of how much less whining and excuse-making will fill up your days when they're replaced with acceptance and action!

Posted: 11/24/08
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