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How Do We Care for Others?

When a friend is experiencing hardship or celebration, it is easy to step up to meet their needs. I am willing to pause my world to pick up the pieces, sit with a friend, or help meet a demand. I will create a meal train or bring groceries, a gift, or a treat to pamper them. I am not an anomaly. Many of us do the same, which is a beautiful example of our love and affection. But how often do we offer that level of care for our friends and family daily? Isn’t life challenging enough? Is it necessary to wait until there is a problem? What would it look like if we were that generous, thoughtful, and willing to serve on any given day?

During a conversation, a friend mentioned she wanted to try a new devise to aid in more restful sleep. Because I wanted to help her, I ordered the pillow. A few weeks later while processing a loss, I shared with a friend that I did not have the emotional capacity to interact with people the day we were together. She took the lead and allowed me space to be. By paying attention to those around me, I’ve been able to help a new mom who needed an extra hand changing her baby or someone who needed a hug because it has been a while. When we are aware, we observe many opportunities to assist.

Although giving help comes second nature to many, accepting help is a different story and can be a humbling experience. One prerequisite to someone being able to help us is that we need to know how we will receive support. Spend time reflecting on how you will let others express their love and appreciation for you. Realize that just because you can do something does not mean you have to do it all the time. Would you accept a meal, house cleaning services, a manicure or pedicure, lawn care, a weekend away, a car payment, a membership, or a service from someone?

If you are willing to help, reflect on how you offer to support a friend. Let me know if you need anything; if I can do anything, let me know. While those offers are sincere, the abstractness can make a specific ask difficult. Others may not understand what you are willing to do and how long to help them. A better response would be, I’m free from 9-12 on Wednesday. Would you like me to bring a meal, babysit, or clean your house? Alternatively, you can make a chart or checklist of ways to help. You could even separate it by whether it requires a large or small investment of your time and a large or small investment of your money. In other words, how to help even if you’re short on time or money. If you received a thoughtful card or email with this checklist, would you find it easier to accept the offer?

I have 2 hours

I have money

I have 4+ hours

I have money

Do your nails

Salon gift certificate

Clean your house

Hire a housekeeper

Cook dinner

Order dinner

Sit with a family member

Hire a service

Watch the kids

Pay for a sitter

Help you pack

Hire an organizer

Share a post

Place an order

Do laundry

Cover dry cleaning

Here's to supporting others better!

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This is such a great reminder. A 24hr bug hit my house a while back and I desperately texted my friend asking her for Gatorade and a box of crackers. Of course she delivered and with many more options to help us nurse back to health. The thing that stood out in my mind the most was that our garbage cans were left outside and she wheeled them in, without being asked- something I only noticed the next day. it was such a kind gesture, simple, but needed.

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