By: Marisa Donnelly
We are a world that prides itself on strength and independence. We are strongest when we can fend for ourselves, more powerful when we can stand on our own two feet. As a female, I am driven to be as self-sufficient as possible. I grew up learning that I would have to fight for myself and my rights, and that I could, and should, take pride in what I accomplish on my own. Men feel this too—they’re told that being a ‘real man’ means handling and shouldering through everything they face with confidence and determination. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, for either sex.
But it has shaped our world into a world that can be a teeny bit prideful, a world that’s stubborn, maybe a little jaded, but most definitely content in aloneness. This belief has created us to be people who are not as willing to ask for help when we need it, or to admit we’re in over our heads, or to be honest with the heaviness in our hearts.
For some reason, we’ve told ourselves that weakness means we’re lesser beings. And that we need to hide when we’re struggling so that no one finds out. But the truth is, we’re all going to struggle at some point. We’re all going to face demons and darkness. We’re all going to have days when it’s a chore just to get out of bed.
We’re going to have moments when we can’t find the strength to stand, or when we just can’t do it alone. And in those moments is when we have to know that it’s okay to lean on others. It’s okay to seek assistance and love outside of ourselves.
The truth about strength is that it doesn’t always come from your body, your brain, your bones. Yes, there is immeasurable strength within you, but that is not the sole source.
Strength comes from surrounding yourself with people who love you. Strength comes from your faith. Strength comes from inspiration, from guidance, from people and resources outside of your expertise.
Strength comes from your vulnerability, and being able to step outside of your pride, your protective shell, your fear and say, ‘I need help.’
Strength comes from letting go of what you’ve been taught, the way you’ve been raised, the beliefs you have ingrained in your mind, and knowing that sometimes you need a friend alongside you, helping to carry those burdens that have been weighing you down for so long.
Sometimes you need a little guidance, a bit of advice, a helping hand, a doctor, a savior, a mentor, a buddy. And that’s okay. That doesn’t make you weak.
Help doesn’t make you feeble. Support doesn’t make you dependent. Guidance doesn’t mean you can’t face the world alone. It means you’re strong enough to know when you need someone else, strong enough to know that you don’t have to walk through this crazy world alone.
I don’t care how independent you are. I don’t care how self-sufficient and strong you may feel. These are beautiful things, but at some point, you’re going to need someone outside of yourself. And you must rid of the belief that needing another person equals fragility. Because it doesn’t. Not at all.
You can carry the world on your shoulders. You can push through pain. You can fall, brush yourself off, and learn to rise. But there will be days when you need someone’s hand to pick you back up, when you need the soothing words of a friend or family member, when you need to talk to someone about the demons dancing in your head.
It’s okay to need people. It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to not be able to fight through the world’s chaos alone. You’re not meant to.
As humans, we’re meant to lean on one another. We’re meant to trust, to fall in love, to hug, to have connections outside of ourselves.
So promise that when you feel lonely, when you’ve reached the end of your rope and can barely hang on, when you’re surrounded by dark clouds and need a reminder of who you are and where you’ve been, you’ll seek the world outside your fingertips. Promise you’ll reach out to someone. Promise you’ll let people in.
Promise you’ll ask for help. Because it’s okay to ask for help, you know.
And that doesn’t—not the tiniest bit—make you weak