I grew up in a very independent household. My siblings and I were all expected to fend for ourselves. If we wanted an extra serving of food, we scooped it ourselves. If we wanted clean dishes, we cleaned them ourselves. If we wanted popcorn at the movies, we bought it ourselves. We were taught to show love by becoming an independent person within the family.
If we didn’t rely on others, we weren’t bothering them, and if we aren’t bothering them, it’s because we love them.
Now, not every family was raised with this mindset. Sometimes a show of love means refilling someone’s mug of coffee or grabbing them a water. This is how my girlfriend’s family is (which you can imagine has caused some issues!). However, I know that there are plenty of people out there who love to be independent.
Independence grants us many things like freedom from reliance. It can foster a sense of pride. A lack of dependence on others can even help us follow our heart to live our own story. These are all wonderful things that you can experience from independence, and believe me, they can really boost your confidence!
Nonetheless, nobody can walk through life alone. If you have big aspirations, which I know you do, then every once in awhile you’ll likely need a helping hand. Maybe you have student loans and your car just broke down. Who has the money to pay off student loans, save a good portion of your income into your investments, pay rent, AND buy a new car? I know I didn’t this past month. I even chose to take a small portion of my savings and throw it towards extra Christmas presents for my loved ones and to celebrate my consistency by taking a vacation with some old friends. Let me tell you, the anxiety struck me like a baseball bat to the face.
This sudden rush of anxiety kept me up at night. Finances have always been a sore spot for my family, and I have always felt that they control my life. Now that I finally have a decent amount of income, I was feeling much better about it. Until, I realized, that my expenses are just as decent a size as well.
But, I don’t need to face this struggle alone. Those same loved ones have seen my struggle, and they feel my pain. Their empathy was established through their actions to help me out last month. I was given a nice car to borrow to allow me to make it to work, I was aided in my extensive used car search on the various online marketplaces, and I was even helped with the payment of the car by a beautiful pair of folks who have been more than blessed with a substantial income due to their impeccably good work.
The only issue I had to face now was myself. How could I accept their goodwill? If I accepted their generosity, then I was no longer independent, right? If I was no longer independent, that means I don’t love the people I’m dependent on, right? This is how my mind works. This is how I was taught to act, to feel. This is not good.
I can’t help that I grew up in a poor family. I can’t help that I had to pay for my own college. I can’t help that I had to live paycheck to paycheck throughout my adolescence and young-adult years. I wasn’t dealt the same cards as others, and that’s not my fault. It was out of my control. The only thing that is in my control is whether or not I grab ahold of the helping hand that reached out to me.
I did. I grabbed it. I cried before doing it because I am a very grateful (and emotional) person, but I did it. I accepted my reality, my circumstances, and I recognized that these people cared. I wasn’t taking advantage of them. They were taking advantage of their success to help someone in need, someone they loved.
Who was I to take away their chance to be gracious? I get it, sometimes it’s hard to accept help from others. It feels good to say that you did it all on your own. The pride you get from doing the work yourself is awesome. But, you know what? We can’t do it all on our own. We aren’t meant to do it all on our own.
I would bet that there are people out there who care about you, want to help you, and love you, I’m sure. We are all a part of a community with a multitude of people who can and will reach out to us, in the darkest of times, extending to us, a helping hand. If and when you need it, grab ahold of it. Put your ego aside, let go of your pride, give you and that person to opportunity to connect in a beautiful way. Connect with them through the experience of help. We all need it, and we all deserve it.