Young@Heart: Are You A Happiness Hoarder?

If you are a caregiver, do you find it hard asking for help when it comes to your home? If that’s a problem for you, this story may help make it easier to ask for help if you need it. Incidentally, we all need help in areas we aren’t competent in. We get accountants to help with our bookkeeping, and lawyers to help with legal issues and we’re willing to get help with electricity and plumbing problems, but for some reason when it comes to our homes, we caregivers have a crazy notion we should be able to take care of everything ourselves.

The whole self-help movement implies you can do everything yourself. Lord knows you’ve tried, but how’s that working for you?

Female caregivers are usually in service-rendering businesses; teachers, doctors, nurses, and mothers (even though being a mom isn’t considered a business, it really is). As a life coach, today, I worked with a lovely woman from PA who has been an RN for thirty years. She explained how much she adores her calling because she loves to help people.

When I asked her to explain more about the feeling of helping others, she said, “When I help a patient, I feel happy knowing because of me that person is happier. I don’t feel arrogant, just important in being part of anothers well-being and happiness.” She went on to tell me she is respected by the doctor’s at the hospital she works in and she’s eager to go to work every day.

Because her home was in critical condition she asked a doctor friend if he thought she had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The doctor asked her these questions: “Do you get to work on time?” (Yes.) “Have you ever missed going to work?” (No.) “Do you pay your bills on time?” (Yes,) With these answers, her friend said, “No you don’t have ADD. This woman was relieved (as if having Attention Deficit Disorder was some fatal disease).

After reading a lot of the material  I’ve written about ADD, she decided to get another professional opinion. This next doctor gave her a test. She passed it with flying colors, but was so devastated to think something was wrong with her brain. It was important to talk her into the joy of having ADD, because it’s a wonderful thing to have as long as you understand how to live with it!

When I suggested she get help with getting her home organization, she said, “Oh I’d be too embarrassed to let someone in to do that.” When I explained I wasn’t going to leave her alone until she agreed to bring someone in, she realized I was serious and she came up with a person’s name who was actually her best friend and had been in her home and already knew of her dirty little secret.

Once she’d agreed to get help from this person, I said something to her she’d never thought about before and maybe you haven’t either. “Do you realize you’ll be giving your friend an opportunity to feel happy knowing because of her, you are happier? She won’t feel arrogant, just important for being part of your well-being and happiness. And just think, if you don’t ask for help, you’ll be a happiness hoarder!” We don’t think that we’re happiness hoarders when we don’t ask others for help, but really we are. By reflecting her words about how she feels helping others to apply to someone’s feelings for helping her, she got excited to call her friend.

Don’t be a happiness hoarder. Ask for help.

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