Experience Project iOS Android Apps | Download EP for your Mobile Device

Be Kind When Your Kindness Is Refused

I have a really bad back and it shows when I'm limping along with a cane. There are times when I'm away from home that things just happen to fall. Happens to everyone...
So many times someone will try and help. Then get offended when I pick it up myself.
It's not that their intentions are bad. It's not that they're not appreciated.

What it is though, I need to pick those things up for myself.
It's better for me to force myself to move that aching spine. It needs to be used to stretch and give it reason to bend. Often that movement will temporarily ease the pain.
I've found that wimping out and not doing little things only allows it to get stiffer and hurt even more.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has found this to be true.
So please, don't be offended when someone like me says, no, that's OK, then does it for theirself.
We do appreciate your offer and are amazed there are still people like you in the world.
That offer you made has brightened our day and given us reason to not shut out the world.
And rest assured, if we are having a really bad day with the pain or we know that we really need help, we will gladly accept your offer and bless you with our thanks and prayers.
oldfarmguy oldfarmguy 61-65, M 32 Responses Jul 28, 2011

Your Response


I couldn't have said it better. I suffer with severe osteoarthritis all over and a spine that is failing me. I completely relate to your need for independence and your grit to go on until you can't. I hope this finds you well and still pluggin along. God bless.

Thank you. I'm still pushing along and kicking back at the pains. I refuse to lay down and give up. Although I may be slow I still hike, fish and travel and am just loving life!!! (((hugs)))

Have you had injections and/or nerve blocks for your back?

Two doctors tried talking me into that. I'm definitely not fond of doctors. I tried some of what they recommended but they didn't seem to be helping. I studied up quite a lot and put together some supplements and foods that seem to be helping me a lot. I started them two years ago and actually seem to be improving. I've gotten more work done in the past two years than I did in the twelve years before.

I am interested in your ideas. I have had epidurals and now am going through a series for lasering the pesky nerves near my spine, willing to try to get even a little relief and get off meds. Anyway, enuff about my ailments. I have read up on you, you are the kind of sensible guy I'd like to get to know better. If you are game, hit me (well, not literally :-)

1 More Response

Thank you for sharing. That little bit of information really helped me. Some times my dad needs a little help and he gets sooooo mad when you help :( It always confused me, I mean, come on, I just picked it up (or whatever) cuz... I wanted to? could? idk? just seemed easier. Anyway, you get the picture and like I said, thank you for sharing : )

Sadly that is something I do with my kids too. I'm getting better at not getting angry with them, but still have a long way to go.

Hugss, ya, cuz keep in mind, it is just second nature, I'm sure I'll still forget, but it does help to know the reasoning behind it. Still, remember, we don't do it to be mean or anything :(

I feel the same way

I appreciate you explaining this. I'm the type who'd be reaching to help, and i've run into this exact type of situation on occasion. I didn't quite understand the semi-cranky "No- I'll get it myself" at the time and just generally bl<x>ink and say "Ok. Good day to you" and move on.<br />
This clears a perspective up that I needed to hear. Thank you.

we live in a world that is so fast,stressful and commodity oriented that some of our humanity easily gets seems tome that more or less spontaneous getsures of humanity can be replaced by policies,protocols and automatic robotic equality and my experience a small gesture of humanity including kindness has a pay of for the nbeneficiary,mostly and for the giver.i even advise that even if the act is not meant or felt in the giving,its still has a pay off for the giver.i believe that at least in some cases it changes in some way the heart of the person making the gesture,and life can light up.similarly i think we have to give respect before we recieve it.its simply no good criticising young people for lack of respect unless we teach by demonstration and by our behaviour not in our hectoring and lecturing...especially in time of austerity like now,when young people can feel their educational,employment and waged opportunities simply may not be us personally doing the disrespecting but it is those who rule over us who make the weaker in society,inclduing young people pay for their economic crisis.<br />
<br />
last but not least,i have little time for eulogies at funerals.ok,they serve afunction and i would not abandon them but why dont we express our appreciation in the here and now-the person gets to hear the praise and on a bad day it might raise the spirits,and might actually prolong the life and breath of the frecipient.<br />
<br />
in a capitalist economy,wages and proper payment for labour is crucial but a few words of appreciation of someone smile,of their effort,concern,service costs us nothing and might send us both,all on our way feeling betetr and being better people,spreading the love...that sometimes in our world seems in such short supply.

I used to jump up to help my Husband when he dropped something, not because he wasn't able, it was just easier for me...(I'm closer to the floor. LOL) One day I realized that kind of kindness would be the death of him. So I explained I wasn't doing it anymore but it was for his own good. <br />
I will refrain from saying his response but it wasn't taken with the kindness I hoped. Ah' well.<br />
Your post made me feel I did the right thing. Move or lose it, right?

I couldnt have put that better myself thanks for that .I to walk with a cane as I suffer with a crumbling spine so painkillers and a tens machine are part of every day life .As you say the kindness is appreciated it shows that there is that human kindness still present in this world.

That TENS has become my best friend!
It is reasuring isn't it.

Dear Sir the feeling is netruel. God has a way for every thing. it is because of people like you I am so inspired I do not have time for foolishness it is too many people suffering in the world today for fun and games. You have my deepest empathy I see you are a strong man and it will take you for God can heal you Sir. It may seem impossible but it is not. I have the upmost respect for your reason and I understand you. Nevertheless I will continue to offer help because everyone has to catch up with you not everyone is as determine and strong as you therefore I kindly except your words and will remeber the each time I cross a pathway of another. Thank you and May God Bless you also Sir.

All of these opinions above have one thing in common. Treating other people with respect. Weather they need help, Ask for help, or just want to be stronger within themselves. Allow others to be their own choices is the key here. Thanks oldfarmguy for giving this topic more light.

Very true northshortstories, and your welcome!

Dear Old Farm Guy you're problems with your back reminded me very much so of my beloved late hubbie. He too was troubled by a bad back. Specifically osteoarthritis in his lower spine. He was only in his late 30s when he was diagnosed. He was 60 when he passed from acute leukemia. Totally unrelated to his back problems. I indirectly empathize with you. <br />
<br />
Wouldn't be offended if a person with a physical disability or getting on in years refused my help as long as they said it nicely. OTOH I think it would be rather insensitive, rude of me to offer in a condescending manner. I work in a rehab center where there are some deaf clients and interact with them with complete respect as I do with the rest of the clients. Some of my relatives are deaf.

I too worked as a tutor for a college that specialized for so called handicapped and disabled. I learned there that the handicapped and disabled are the ones without what we call disabilities. It's the so called normal who give up without a struggle...

oldfarmguy,<br />
<br />
I appreciate your addressing this subject because it raises an important issue, control and dignity.<br />
<br />
For myself I want to make my own decisions, for good or ill, for how I run my life, how something is accomplished. I need help for some issues and needs because no person is an island. And yet I want to to keep feeling useful and needed. Feeling like I've lost control, unable to take care of myself and make decisions, BAD!!! So please... bare with me.<br />
<br />
So yes... I do need help from time to time. But allow me the dignity to... Do it My Way... more or less.<br />

It's easy to ask for help when needed. Here on the farm my son and others understand I will do for myself until I am no longer breathing. They also understand there are times I need help and I ask for it. Sadly there are also those times when I get bullheaded and should ask, but don't. Then I can lay in bed for days in agony. Yet I can blame no one but me!

oldfarmguy, you seem like such a gentle kind soul. God bless you!

Thank you Kayblue, but shhhhh, don't tell anyone :)'ll be our little secret :)

every one of us has distinct version in life- desire, thought, but why it is that if we need help no one who help us they tent to push us from harm but if we don't they are to extent there help.... who whats life is driven FoR...

I'm sure that every one of us have different version in life,,, but in my side there's a time when I need help no one who help me.... but if i don't someone is there to share there thought...

Wow, do I understand that!

I agree. Thank you for sharing. Your plight touched me deeply!

Thank you. Eceryone has degrees of independence and feel threaten with the sense of any type of loss.

Thank you for sharing the inportance of Independence. As a person with a disability, I sense your fustration and need of selfworth..

Not really self worth, it's more the need to not let matters get worse.

This reminds me of the time, a few years ago, when my husband had several near-death experiences after surgery, followed by a long coma. After months in the hospital, and months on his back at home, he was finally strong enough to go to his first physical therapy treatment. It took me 30 minutes to get him from the house to the garage, and into the car. Panting and exhausted, we drove to the appointment.<br />
<br />
In front of the physical therapy office, I got out of the car, and went around to the passenger door. A complete stranger leapt out of the office next door to the therapist's. He shouted, "Don't help him! He has to learn to do things for himself!"<br />
<br />
Sometimes people can lean a little too far the other way.

Ohh Yes! They sure can!

Thank You for posting this.It gives me something to think about !

Your very welcome and thank you for the comment!

I am a student doing Home and Community Care (aged care and disabilities) and also doing Community Services... Within our welfare department the teachers are always stressing the importance of caring not only for the health of someone but their entire being... they also stress that stepping in and helping someone just cause you feel you are doing the right thing can often cause more long term damage then good. As their sayings go "Use it or Lose it!" and "ask what I can do not what I can't".<br />
<br />
Since starting the class and learning different things but especially these couple of things I have found that the different approach when asking if someone would like some help as changed the way that I interact with other members of the community and the results are now very different to before.<br />
<br />
I mentioned the difference to one of my teachers one day asking her how such a small difference can make a huge difference, leaving everyone with a smile on their faces now she explained through examples of how just helping or any other action can imply that you see them as incapable of doing anything and is often seen as an insult even if they never say anything whereas the new approaches were just making yourself available allowing a comfortable zone where they may accept or refuse the help. <br />
<br />
They should teach this stuff in school, the change from the grumbles while walking away to the now smiles and the often replies of "I'm right thanks love" or "thank you love that would be good".<br />
<br />
I look at this story and responses and I can see the ex<x>pressions of what our teachers have been teaching us to be aware of. Thank you for sharing, its always nice to see we are learning the right things :)

Didn't know this was being taught! But am glad to hear it is. Possibly it's something that parents shoud be teaching, but parents who don't know can't teach. Hmm, maybe a post on my blog could get something started! Thank you for that wonderful idea SometimesCoherent!

They teach it this way in Australia at least... its part of the new 'person centred care' that has been getting phased in over the past few years and is now law here at least.

Would be great to see at least the basics of it taught to everyone though... I think community wide education is really important and highly lacking...

Self Help Is The Best

Yes it is! It's sad that so many go through life being needy. To really recieve you need to give and to give you must be able to do...

Wow, reading your guys' posts is so uplifting! I always thought that although everyone ages, there should be no reason to get "old". Seeing posts by older people who are still out there living their lives with a positive attitude is so great, and it helps me to negate some people I know who insist that once you hit a certain age, your life quality & meaning must decline....

Oh Firefly, it only declines if you allow it to. Many things about getting older make life better. There's a freedom from so many of the things that bother you when younger. Age is only a number and it's what is in your mind that counts.

Yay! That's what I try to remind myself of all the time ^^ It's weird, so many people I know, once they hit like 24-26 kind of age range, they start feeling old. I think it's sad. We should all be whoever we want to be, and I think if you take care of yourself you'll probably be fine, right? :) It's great to think that as I get older I can look forward to having more freedom. Thanks for that positive thought :D

if something fall on the floor and i'm there i don't ask i just pick it up and that's the end of that.<br />
if someone disable and i think they might need help with something i'll ask if they say no i just keep walking. i don't understand why some people might get offended by that.

I agree Smokyjade, others should be happy to see people doing for theirself especially through the tough times.

Hi old farm guy, I was easily able to empathize with ur comments. My first reaction to ur comments reminded me of myself. i was always taught as a child to not take gifts from strangers. Guys are also the type to not accept assistance because they think that if they can't do it themselves they are incompetent. Add to that modeling some aging in a guy like you & I and it becomes very difficult to accept "help"! Now I want you to carefully reconsider your position here Farm Guy because you get ample opportunity to do things yourself i'm sure because you MAY be depriving others of giving you a gift! In the past I have refused gifts from others and have deprived them of the opportunity to expresss their love- I saw the disapointment in their eyes. It's hard for guys to accept assistance but just once try to let someone help you and see how that feels---vulnerable? Don't deprive yourself of those opportunities to receive kindness from others and don't deprive others of expressing their love. It'll feel good for the both of you.

Hmm, that is something to consider...
Thank you!

Oldfarmguy, at your age you are still a kid. I do empathize with you. All my life I have been very, very active. I was working full time till the age of 76, when I was forcibly retired, even though I was fully fit and capable. I didn't give up there, every morning I used to get up, be at the gym by 7.45am. work out for 1.5 to 2.0hrs each morning. I then used to go to my friends house and help him, because of his disabilities, drive him around and do his paper work for him, help out in the garden, literally any and every thing. I have a motorcycle which i used to ride every day, rain or shine. And then. I was laying on the bed one day, and when I tried to get up I couldn't. I laid in bed for four days, my Son used to call every day, and I kept telling him that I was alright, but eventually he stopped listening to me and called the ambulance and took me to hospital, where I stayed for a month. There, I got a MRI scan and they said I had a slipped disc in my lower back and it was trapping the spinal cord. They also told me that I have asbestosis. Since coming out of hospital I have been housebound and can't get out without a chaperone. My Son is there for me every day, he is always wanting to do things for me. I keep telling him not to smother me, and let me do things for myself. He gets really annoyed because I won't let him. He keeps calling me a stubborn old motherless gentleman. (at least, I think that's what it means). I know exactly what you are going through, and I can only wish you all the best that this world can give you. At least, you are not whimping it out., so you hang on in there, there's a whole lot of life out there for you. Good Luck my friend.

Isn't that a fact. There is a lot of life to enjoy and laugh at no matter what shape your shape is in!!!
Heck there are days my son has to help me get off a tractor and make it in to the house, but like I say to him. If I can't do I might as well not be.

This was a wonderful reply. I am always humbled when I read about people who are so "gracious under pressure". Young people need to understand that as one gets older, our bodies may age, but our hearts and souls don't. Like OFG said, "If I can't do, I might as well not be". All people need to be as independent, as is possible for them to be.

I have often seen a disabled person or elderly person struggling with some thing but before helping them I will ask them if they need help that helps to keep the independance of the person struggling and also helps them feel that they are not useless.<br />
I often ask the tellers at the bank if I can help them by taking the money home to count it for them but they never accept my offer of help.

Hi! I have had three lower back surgeries (broken discs). Still have periodic pain, but I can deal w/it.<br />
<br />
Do you have insurance? In any event, the plug-in back massagers do help some, as well as pain patches.<br />
<br />
I wish you well. Still have my cane, and do remember what it was like not to be able to walk w/o extreme pain, often dragging a leg. I understand what you're going through and will pray for the pain to subside.

Oh yes, have insurance. Had the opportunity to have surgery also, but I know so many who have ended up worse after surgery. Then the doc's say only a 50/50 chance that I'll walk out after. Think I'll wait and see if the time evercomes that I can't walk before surgery. Doc's say the odds are the same...
It's been 12 yars now and I handle it. There are times I get dumb and push like a kid then spend a week doing nothing but I usually remember!

Tough life my friend, but I hope that you will learn to appreciate those folks who in fact have your best intentions at heart.<br />
<br />
If 99 people barked at me for helping them, but one person appreciated my gesture, I'd continue to do it.......everytime :)<br />
<br />
Best of luck to you sir!

Oh I do appreciate it, but mant get upset and storm away when their help is refused. Even when you try to explain you need to do for yourself... Thanks for the comment!!!

And it's really been a great life. The back problem was kind of a way for me to slow down, take inventory and now enjoy what I've been given the chance to have. No longer do I "have" to work. Now I work because I want to and take breaks and rest when I need or want. It's a great life and I even get to spend time here with friends and potential friends!

You hit the nail on the head,,,there are people who offer help..however..there are those that use the handicapp stall in the toilet even when there are others available..those that push their grocery cart into you in the aisle and expect you to move ( with your walker,cane,scooter) out of their way and get aggravated when you can accomodate them immediately.You manage to open a door and they push right by you to enter or exit. I have found there are empathetic/apathetic people and there..and there are %#&*!! ones too...Keep SMILING..Karma does come back to keep moving should read the book.." Whatever..I"m Still Here"..written with humor about life/society in general..

I'm still here! The story of my life LOL
After living so long I've whitnessed so much that nothing seems to surprise me any longer.
To add to your list, I've often wondered why they take the handicapped parking spaces and then complain they need to go to a gym to work out. Heck, I still park away from the door for the added exercise and I'm eligible!
Insensitivity does seem to be another gripe about the me, me people out there, yet they seem to be the most insensitive!
Go figure :)

First off I want to apologize for not editing my reply..My English Prof would topple off the mantle (cremated) and didn't mean to sound unappreciative to those that offer help..just my observations on some really thoughtless ones..they're probably rude to thanks to all who take the time to make the is appreciated and will come back as "good" karma to you idlewatcher...

Aren't we a wonderful species? There are times when we need help and no-one is there, and yet when we try to be independent people come rushing to help. You are right in trying to help yourself and taking the positive of how it will help you stretch your spine etc. If some-one has come to your aid just a smile and a quick explanation as to why you need to right yourself, and a generous thank you for them coming to help, should put to rest the anger they feel at being refused. <br />
God Bless

Maybe they then feel embarrassed and that's why they seem to get angry.
Don't know for sure... I do appreciate the offer!

Do try it, I would lay money that that is what it is.