Jump into Action
When we hear of someone in trouble, maybe it’s a disease, a miscarriage, a death, a divorce, an accident, a breakdown, we can feel compelled to reach out and help. We may not know what to do exactly but sitting doing nothing is just not an option. You become your loved one’s carer. Whatever the unforeseen circumstances, that person or family needs your support to get them through. Faith in humanity is restored as family, friends, and often strangers jump into action. Maybe a food roster is organised, or paperwork is managed, the children are looked after or you hold your friends hand through a doctor’s appointment. Whatever the cause and whatever the action, you dedicate your time into this support network which now has a sense of purpose and even an identity. As a carer you feel good, you are being helpful, useful in this battle your loved one faces. It shows that you care and perhaps if you do something, anything, it will make the pain more bearable.
Lean on Me
So if as a carer you ultimately feel good and voluntarily give your time and support, why does the person in need feel so inadequate of such support? Why do we shy away from gracefully accepting help? Why do we think someone else is more worthy of your carer’s time and help? Why, when we are facing such difficult times do we feel so guilty?
Are we all islands?
Something in our society has changed. Somewhere we became independent islands where we had to do it all by ourselves. It seems ingrained that we must be self-sufficient and only deemed to be successful when we struggle through on our own. We outsource where ever we can, instead of leaning on the people that we know and love around us. Forbid that we show any signs of weakness, or are rude by asking or be a burden to someone else by asking or accepting help. I am not sure when it started. Was it our generation or has this been going on for decades?
You are not alone
I believe the beautiful African saying “It takes a village to raise a child” applies here too. Everyone needs a tribe. I just simply don’t believe that we can do it all alone. Could being an island, contribute to mental health issues? What if our support network stepped in when we needed them and we weren’t afraid to lay it all out on the table and give others permission to help fix us.
Release the guilt
As for the guilt, what a waste of time and energy. Sure guilt is needed as our moral compass but in this case I think it is overrated and unnecessary. Through chemo I had so many people come to my aid. Kindness from strangers, friends and family and I felt terrible. For one I couldn’t even spend time with that person to show them how much I appreciated it. Doing anything after a heavy dose of chemo is pretty unappealing. Then at some point in my treatment I started to think about paying it forward. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, instead of paying someone back we are paying it to someone else. So a good karma chain is created and even though you may never get an opportunity to return the good deed, you are contributing to your tribe by helping someone else. Once I was able to get my head around this, and committed to helping where I next able to, I was able to release the guilt.
Pay it forward Ideas
- Pay for a strangers coffee
- Make some food, start a roster
- Take care of the kids for a few hours
- Contribute to a charity that resonates with you
- Do something worthy of raising money through sponsorship
- Send vouchers for some self-care like a massage or spa treatment or movie tickets
- Write a card, letter or message saying how much you care
- Order an extra pizza and give it to the homeless
- Mow your neighbour’s lawn
- Carry bags for a stranger
- Put a hamper together
- Offer to drive to the next appointment
- Compliment someone
- Do some research and share your findings for the best lawyer, medical experts, latest research
- Just listen and be there
So if someone in your tribe wants to help you, let them! You deserve it. You will be back on your feet in no time, and then it will be your turn to do the same.
This was inspired by my friend Katie who deserves all the love and support in the world. We would love to hear your ideas on how to pay it forward. Share in the comments below.
Be Kind to Yourself. You are Amazing!
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Just use the code “first20” at the checkout. Share this with your friends too. Maybe this could be your pay it forward thing for today!