The one thing you can start doing to make your life easier.

spiky Hawaaian thing

I know you’re filling in that blank with any number of random things. What’s that piece of drivel you’re about to share? I can file as I go? I can start thinking positively? Drinking 8 glasses of water? Singing as I skip through the daisies? Standing on one foot to practice my balance while I brush my teeth? What? Um. C) None of the above. Far more basic (and less weird than some other options, listed or not). Next time you need help and someone offers to assist, let them. Say yes. It’s that simple.

How many times have you been in a bind (arms full of groceries and children but needing to open a door, working long hours but still need to get everything else done, you’ve been sick and need help with the housework, so on, so forth, ad nausem), and someone’s asked you if you need anything, and you’ve gritted your teeth, forced a big smiley smile and said blithely, “Oh no, thanks, I’m fine.” Why, I ask you, why?

Here’s my theory. The people connected to you, your friends, your family, your work buddies, genuinely like you and want you to be happy and succeed. And when they ask if you need anything, they’re asking out of a genuine desire to make your life easier. People like to help people, particularly ones that they care about. So when you rebuff an offer that you actually need, you’re not doing anyone any favours. Maybe your parents actually want to spend time with their grandchildren but are afraid of being too pushy if they come right out and ask. Maybe your friend the chef wants a guinea pig to try out their new dinner recipe. And by allowing them to help, you’re letting them know that you trust them enough to assist when you’re down. Regardless, you need the help. So next time, stop the madness. Say yes.

Let me give you an example. When J and I got married, it was a huge, 200-person extravaganza, held at the university that we both met at, and required an enormous amount of orchestration in addition to our full time jobs and other hobbies. Added to that was that we didn’t live together until after we got married (no religious beliefs, just wanted to decorate my apartment pink while I could), so we were also moving at the same time. Gong show, yes?

I had my heart set on cupcakes. A multitude of cupcakes, in a myriad of flavours, so that there was no having to cut 200 slices of cake, people could choose what kind they wanted, AND they look cute. However, that would was 18 dozen cupcakes. A fearful number. The total for that item alone would have been nearly $1000. In floofy icing and cake. Not doable.

However, a number of my friends, and my mother-in-law’s friends, were bakers, by nature if not by trade. So when these wonderful people (you know who you are!) asked if I needed help with any of the wedding hoopla, I said, “Why yes. I do. You like to bake…how do you feel about making cupcakes?”

Suddenly, 18 dozen became eight people, each making two or three dozen cupcakes. They were excited to be involved and honestly wanted to help, and I ended up with maple, coconut, peanut butter, chocolate mint, butterscotch, black forest and cherry, among others. It was fantastic.


So when you’re sick and exhausted, and your cousin asks if there’s anything she can do to help, do yourself (and her) a favour. Stop the madness and ask her to make you a casserole. Or to come and sit in your living room after the baby’s gone to sleep so that you can go out to Starbucks and have a hot chocolate and read a magazine.

(The inverse also applies. If you see someone struggling to open a door, open it for them. If you have a friend who’s moving, offer to come over and help them pack. You get the idea).

Just say yes.

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