Independence is Overrated | Week 41 | Confidence Revolution
In August 2014, my Mom told me she wanted to come stay with us/help us after Alexandra was born. I puffed out my chest, told her I didn't want to "farm out" the caring of my daughter. (The audacity!) Then, after a grueling labor and a plummeting of hormones and energy -- I was DESPERATE for help. No help sounded agonizing.
For many of us, asking for help is equivalent to admitting defeat. We would rather keep struggling in silence, sinking deeper in quicksand with every passing day, than admit we can’t do something entirely on our own.
The traditional African proverb—it takes a village to raise a child—is as equally true today as it was thousands of years ago, but somehow we have lost touch with its essence. With the advent of social media and with the threat that folks can peek into our lives on a whim, we have turned into a society of thinly veiled facades: “All good over here! Don’t need a thing! Look at our portrait perfect family!” But really, we are no different from the generations that have preceded us; we are equally entangled with joy and heartache.
Many people share with me that they find purpose, joy, and meaning in helping others, but they battle accepting help themselves. Refusal of help is nothing more than pride taking a long stroll. If we enthusiastically offer help to others and show up for them, and yet we don’t accept the occasional helping hand, are we strong, or are we narcissists?
When life is bearing down on us and our instincts are to tidy up the house or go drink ourselves into oblivion—when our instinct is to numb—let’s do the thing we think we cannot do. Let’s call someone we trust and talk to them about it, cry about it, name the issue, and start to look at it. Admitting that we have hit our limit and seeking help from outside ourselves is a profound action that will rocket-launch us deeper into levels of connection with those around us.
In The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal, author and internationally recognized life coach and speaker, Renee Peterson Trudeau, spurs women to create their own personal support system. She brings to light how having a support system can have a huge impact on how we experience day-to-day life. Folks with robust support systems are more effective at work and at home, keep resolutions, weather personal and professional challenges more easily, are less likely to feel isolated, and (here’s the kicker) have children who become comfortable asking for and receiving help and support from others.
In the moments when we would rather be cemented in our independence than ask for help, let’s consider personifying our pride and letting it know that Bob Marley was right—every little thing is gonna to be alright. Let’s consider not sucking it up and pushing through, but allowing love in. Just as we want to impart our love, empathy, and compassion on others, they also want the opportunity to impart those gifts on us.
Needing help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of humanity. When we are open to help, we are both courageous enough to recognize our own breaking point and wise enough to welcome others to help carry us through.
“Accepting help is its own kind of strength.” –Kiera Cass
I used to find pride in being INDEPENDENT at whatever cost. Now I push my pride out of the way and I find joy and ease and strength in asking for help and like my Pastor says, having WITHNESSES for the journey.
love and grace, catia