Ask Amy: Shopper is bothered by pushy offers of help

Dear Amy: No matter how much I try to work through this, I am stuck.

I’m in my 60s. From an illness (polio) when I was an infant, I walk with a very noticeable limp, and I often use a cane or crutches. I have a career, lovely children and grandchildren, and good friends. I travel and live independently by myself.

However, I often receive unwanted and unwelcome advice from strangers, who make assumptions regarding my physical capabilities.

For instance, when shopping for groceries, I am often told about motorized carts for my use. I generally thank them, but I always turn them down, saying that I prefer pushing a cart and getting some exercise.

Sometimes that ends the conversation, but more often than not, there is pushback, asking me if I’m sure, etc.

I find myself getting angry. I try to be civil, when I’m raging on the inside. Then I fume to myself all the way home and beyond. I then feel guilty about getting angry. How can I let go of my anger and accept that people’s unsolicited advice is more about them than about me?

I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. You would think that I would have figured this out by now.

I’d appreciate your advice.

— Tired and Frustrated

Dear Tired: You know you cannot control the spontaneous behavior of strangers. I (also) cannot convince people to leave you alone, and so I’m going to suggest that you try something called cognitive (or “positive”) reframing.

For instance, you describe what happens as strangers offering you unwelcome and unsolicited advice. To reframe this, you would choose to see this as strangers trying to be of service.

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Human beings, who so often ignore the real needs of others, are making a “bid” of connection by approaching you and offering alternatives to walking. You can continue to reject this bid and go home raging. Or you can

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

      

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