As many of you know I frequenly travel on the trains here in Chicago. It’s a fantastic way to get around the city. I always enjoy seeing tourists using public transportation, as it really is an excellent way to see Chicago.
A couple of weeks ago while standing on the train platform, I heard two people talking with an accent that I hadn’t heard in a long time. They were here from Scotland visiting their daughter. Having Scottish heritage on both sides of my family, it was such a delight to speak with them.
As we all boarded the train, there weren’t too many seats left so I went to get one across from where the Scottish folks were sitting. I wanted to carry on our conversation. Just as I was about to sit down the train pulled away from the station. It seemed to be having some mechanical problems and the brakes appeared to kick in. Suddenly I found myself on the floor.
I was so embarassed that although two people offered to help me, I ignored them and got back up by myself. Definitely not my finest moment, as I really should have been holding onto a bar once I knew the doors were closed and that the train would be leaving right away. I realized that I was so distracted speaking with the lovely folks from Scotland that I wasn’t paying attention to anything else.
Now how is this for a Universal tap on the head: Not but an hour later I was walking in downtown Chicago. Suddenly and literally right behind me a girl tripped and fell onto the pavement. I turned around and went up to her to see if she was okay. Another lady came along and did the same. The girl had been looking at her phone, wearing headphones, and I noticed her one shoe was untied. I helped her up and then said, “Would you like me to tie your shoelace for you? I think you were distracted and tripped on your lace.”
She nodded and I proceeded to tie her lace for her. Then she thanked me, and I asked her again if she was okay. She said she was and off she went.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure I was given some huge lessons that day. I didn’t accept help on the train because I was embarrased for being so distracted. But the next thing I knew this young girl, probably feeling the same way I did, accepted my help and showed her gratitude by thanking me.
I realized (as silly as this may sound to you) that I was given the opportunity to help this girl to show that it is perfectly okay to ask someone for help. Not only that, if there is someone directly in front of you offering their assistance, take it. Why do we feel as if there is something wrong in allowing our vulnerabilities to show?
I guess you can say it is a two-way street: letting others assist us not only helps us but it helps them in experiencing and sharing their kindness and compassion. It allows other a chance to be helpful. I think that is a much better and balanced way to be.
This entire scenario has had me thinking ever since about cutting myself some slack and if I need some help I’ll ask for it or accept it instead of muddling through it. I realize it is actually a strength to ask others for help, not a weakness. Isn’t it interesting when we don’t get a lesson it is usually repeated until we do. For me that day the lesson sure showed up with a quick ‘thud’, didn’t it? *pun intended*
What about you, do you ask for help when you need some? Do you accept help when it is offered?