Most of us pride ourselves on being self-sufficient. We enjoy taking care of ourselves and pulling our own weight in the world. That’s why it can be so challenging when we find ourselves in a situation where we need to rely on someone else. Maybe we suffer a serious injury or fall critically ill. Or maybe we experience a positive change – like the birth of a child or landing a great new job with increased responsibilities that disrupts our work/life balance – that throw a wrench in our usual “I don’t need any help” mantra. In times like these, it’s essential that we release the self-imposed need to do it all by ourselves, and accept the help of others.
The first step is accepting the situation as it is without any judgment. Too often we make things worse either by trying to do more than we should, or by surrendering to feelings of overwhelm or helplessness. In either scenario, we run the risk of prolonging our dependency on others. Moreover, we miss a valuable opportunity to practice acceptance and humility. The ego resists what is, so when we move into acceptance we move into the deeper realm of the soul. When we allow others to help us, we experience the full realization that nobody is alone in this world. A deep feeling of gratitude may also emerge as we open ourselves to the experience of being helped. This realization can enable us to be wiser in our service of others when we are called upon to help.
It takes wisdom and strength to surrender to our interconnectedness, and to accept that we, just like every other human being, need help from time to time. But when we exercise this wisdom and strength, we discover humility, gratitude, and a deepening understanding of the human experience that enables us to be that much more compassionate in the world.