If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know
“If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know”
I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves saying this to friends and acquaintances after discovering they are going through a challenging situation.
Why do I think this statement falls short?
Ask yourself how many times you have expressed those words to someone you cared about and then think about how many times they actually asked you for something?
Chances are, you weren’t asked for anything but you feel good about saying it because you really didn’t know what else to say.
What if there was something better to say?
What if it involved following through with what you said?
Would you be willing to try a different approach?
On 11/2/2009, I held my mother’s hand while she took her last breath in this world and I am grateful to have been there to say goodbye and to tell her it was okay to go find her Light.
I am also grateful for the flood of sympathy and gestures of love that came to me and my family.
Grief is such a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Going through the motions as if you are on autopilot, trying to make the necessary arrangements, trying to be a sense of support for your family and actually being surprised that you made it out of bed at all.
“If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.”
“Thank you” was my response and that was the end of it.
Why didn’t I ask for help? What could I have asked for? I couldn’t even think through the grief about my needs.
What if I did ask for something and the person couldn’t help me after all?
What if someone said, “I am available this Friday from 2-4 for grocery shopping, Doctor appointments or I can bring you dinner”
Or, “I don’t have much to offer right now other than a sympathetic ear and I’m available to talk on Mondays after 5pm”
When a person can be specific about their offering, chances are the offer will be accepted and appreciated.
How many of you are ready to try this approach?
It will require some thought and planning but you will become more conscious of your words and actions in the process.
The bottom line is that we are all busy people and have our own challenges that we are working through.
It would be unhealthy to be available to all those in need because every action requires energy and we need to be wise about how that energy is distributed.
When life is running smoothly for yourself, you have more reserve to lend a helping hand.
Don’t beat yourself up if all you have to offer is a phone call of support. There are times when we have nothing available to give and we need to honor that. Healthy boundaries are important for self-care.
For those who are able to help, be specific about how you can help and when you are available.
Life is beautiful and messy and we truly are all in this together.
If we change the way we respond to those in need, we could really make a difference in someone’s life.