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Why Is It So Hard to Accept Kindness?

When someone offers to help you, whether it is a stranger or a close friend, what is your immediate reaction? Is it an automatic “no”? Even if you’re carrying 15 grocery bags and your eggs are ready to take a nose dive down to the pavement?
If you do accept someone’s help, do you feel like you need to pay them back immediately?
When did we become so skeptical of kindness? Or think of it as currency that requires an even trade?
Lately, I’ve been examining my own feelings about accepting help. Growing up, my mom would not allow me or my siblings to accept anything from anyone. That fifty-dollar bill that my uncle always tried to slip each of us on his annual visit? If my mom caught sight of it, she would give us a death stare until we returned it. When he finally did manage to covertly complete the mission, the excitement of my newfound wealth was clouded by feelings of guilt and shame.
My mom had a tough life and grew up learning that there was no one she could depend upon but herself. This is how she survived.
It allowed me to grow into a self-sufficient independent woman and for that I am grateful. But it also made it extremely difficult to accept help. Something inside me said that I was less worthy and cheating if I did not do everything on my own.
However, I know that this could not be further from the truth. Accepting help does not make me weak. In fact, that vulnerability makes me strong AND more connected. And being a BackGetter is not just about helping others. It’s also being willing to accept help. If this world was full of people eager to help but no one willing to accept it, where would we be?
When someone helps someone, it’s not just the person being helped who feels good. The person helping also feels just as good, if not better for having purpose. Both the giver and receiver feel better due to their interaction. There is reciprocation simply in the act and it is not necessary to pay anyone back. When you turn down help, you are actually taking away an opportunity for connection and positivity.
So, the next time someone offers to help you, take a deep breath, let that automatic “no” rise and fall away, give a big smile and say “yes”. Then get ready for a double dose of goodness. I know I will.

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