It feels like so many people are having a tough time these days. We often want to help, but don't always know how. As a 2 on the Enneagram, I have to remind myself to ask people how they need my help, rather than sometimes guessing or assuming.
The problem is, however, that many times people won't be honest when they need help. I was so thankful recently that my amazing friend Jen, when I asked how I could help, said YES - and gave me an easy way to send dinner to another state - a Chick-fil-A gift card! So do-able. I was so glad I was able to do such a small easy thing that hopefully spread a little sunshine. I was also reminded of a time a few years back when I offered to send dinner to someone, and she said kindly - thank you, but no thank you - "being in my kitchen and cooking for my family is one of the only things that feels normal right now." In this way, she was also saying YES to help - she let me know what was not a need, not helpful, and why - and her honesty helped me become a better friend.
All of us can be better about accepting help, and about being honest with what we need when the offer comes - even if the truth is we are okay at the moment. It is helpful to remember we want to help others when they need it, and it is a gift to us to be able to do so. One of my Jewish friends taught me years ago about the concept of Gemilut Hasadim, literally meaning “the giving of loving-kindness,” giving without the anticipation of receiving something in return. It invites us to enjoy the giving - and the joy it gives us to be able to do so, with no expectations. Gemilut Hasadim doesn't have to be something big - it can be as simple as saying hi. Making someone else's day a little brighter, a little easier.
May you have the generosity to give, expecting nothing in return. May you have the courage to say yes to loving kindness when it is offered to you. May you have the opportunity to take small steps that make this day lighter and brighter for someone else.
“Saying yes is courage. Saying yes is the sun. Saying yes is life.”
Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person