I am getting a better insight into the other side of a social situation. When I was working in Florida about a year and a half ago, there was a young lady that worked there who was handicapped. One day she was getting herself out of the driver’s seat while pulling her wheelchair out of the door to set up and get in. It looked slow and difficult, but she had obviously developed a plan to make it work.
I offered to help as I could get the wheelchair out in a jiff and save her a bunch of time. She stayed polite, but in her “no thank you” I could tell that I had angered her significantly. I knew the standard etiquette but thought why not help? It would speed her up and make me feel good.
I am starting to grasp the depth of the problem.
We all get into our little projects. We take on any number of tasks and really get into seeing them through. Building a deck, making a garden, climbing a mountain or paddling a difficult river. These projects are the things that fulfill healthy happy people.
This desire to accomplish does not simply evaporate when you abilities are less. The mountains that you climb just get smaller. I have occupied myself, to some enjoyment, with learning and devising clever new strategies to getting things done. When I do something I care about, I am pretty determined. When one is in the middle of wrestling a difficult task to completion, it blows your sense of accomplishment and self worth to hell when someone comes up and quickly does it for you. This is something that I find myself getting more sensitive to than I was at first. When you are able to do less and less, it is more important to accomplish the things that you can.
I find myself in a tricky situation of feeling guilty about my feeling of anger when people insist on helping me. The guilt is that they are trying to be nice and loving. The fear is that I sometimes, and soon will require their help. Better not bite the hand that you will need.