“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” ~ Unknown
My whole life I’ve been there for other people, always wanting to take care of others, giving them my time, my ability to listen and give advice, always putting my family first.
I liked being needed. It made me feel good about myself in a time where I lacked confidence in other areas of my life. I always knew I was a good friend, daughter, sister, and aunt. And I rarely asked for their help in return.
I’ve always been the strong one in the family, the resilient one, the confident one, the one who always landed on their feet when obstacles and hardships came knocking; and a part of me liked knowing that I was independent and could take care of myself.
It made me feel tough. So, I never asked for help until I was forced to.
When I got adult mono in Jan 2015, I was unable to do much for myself. I was so incredibly sick and in pain. I was ill for 3 months and so weak, I could barely get out of bed. But did I ask for help from my family? Nope. They did buy me groceries once and my mom sent me flowers, but I still harbored some resentment, and I suffered in silence. Not a healthy thing to do. Much to my surprise though, my teacher friends showed up for me. They brought me soup, and a few came to visit me when I was on the mend. A friend of mine sent me flowers, my students made cards for me, and for the first time in my life, I was so touched by what others were willing to do for me! It was a humbling and life changing experience. It taught me to allow love and assistance from others. What we don’t realize is that we are giving our friends and family a gift by allowing them to help us when we are struggling. Our loved ones want to support us, care for us, and want to see us happy. I think it’s most of us who are so fiercely independent who have the hardest time relying on others’ for help because we see it as a sign of weakness.
When actually, it’s a sign of courage and strength to ask for help. And now when I ask for help or speak up about I need and want, my family steps up in a heartbeat. There’s no shame or guilt. Okay, I still feel a little guilt. But, I’m working on that!
My parents and brother have supported me emotionally and financially when times were tough these last few years, and especially now in the pursuit of my dream of writing my first book. I don’t know where I’d be without their unwavering support and love. Knowing that it’s okay to ask for help, to speak up about what you need, and to still consider yourself self-reliant and self-sufficient is a brave and beautiful thing.
When we finally see that we haven’t lost our independence by asking for help; but instead, we have gained the freedom of allowing unconditional love into our hearts, we are able to be in a state of perpetual grace.
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