It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s definitely okay to accept help when it is offered. This is a concept I have struggled with for years. To be realistic, I struggled with this as a child. As a child, I was labeled obstinate, strong willed, or bull headed. This character trait has carried over into adulthood and as an adult, I have been labeled independent at best, stubborn, or hard headed as least flattering. I spent many years being a one woman show and I was okay with that. I have been fortunate to have people in my life who love me and recognize I need help in one capacity or another throughout my life. However, it is still very difficult for me to admit, let alone ask for help.
I have tried to break this cycle with my own child and I find it a difficult cycle to break. Ever since my bean was small, I have handled melt downs, frustration, and episodes of being overwhelmed with calmness, breathing, stepping away from the activity that frustrates and simply use your words to ask mommy or daddy for help. This has all worked well until recently when she has become older, opinionated, and unknowingly throws information back at me letting me feel the proverbial bite in the backside. As an opinionated, obstinate, and quietly observant adolescent, I felt resentment for my parents do as I say, not as I do approach to life. I have never wanted to be that kind of parent to my bean and have always worked very hard to walk the walk. However, hypocrisy is a sin often committed in oblivion.
Circumstances have arisen that at times make daily tasks a challenge. Rather than ask for help, I try to power through until I can’t power through any longer and end up down for the count for a few days. Would it be easier to admit I need a break, need some help, or even a hand with trying tasks? Yes, it would be easier. However, in my obstinate, bull headed, hard headed mind, it is admitting defeat and weakness. I don’t really care for weakness. As I try to recoup what I have spent, my bean points out that I should have stopped early the night before and just rested for a bit. I could also rest during the day and it would be better for me. She has also pointed out that it’s okay to tell daddy I need a break. He won’t be mad. These are all things I know. It makes it hard to hear from an eleven-year-old that I should just exercise some common sense and restraint. It is also in the back of my mind that she may resent my self-inflicted down days knowing that I know I should slow down a bit for a little bit. As she watches me struggle, she reiterates what I have always told her, be calm, breathe, step away from what is frustrating and use your words to ask for help. Such a difficult lesson, such a very difficult lesson.
The sheer hypocrisy of it does not escape me. I offer help willingly, freely and without judgement on a very regular basis. I don’t view individuals who need help or ask for help as weak. I definitely don’t think less of individuals who need help. I’m not sure why my expectation for myself is so skewed. However, the fact that my bean is able to identify this hypocrisy and character flaw is humbling. This child teaches me difficult lessons on a daily basis without even knowing that she is a master. She makes me want to do better.
In these tumultuous times, know dear reader it is perfectly okay to need help, ask for help and accept help. You are not weak, you are self-aware. You are not incapable; you know your limitations. Self-awareness and honesty are not shameful but are traits of strength to be admired. I hope you are able to do better than me. Stay safe, stay smart, stay honest with yourself, and keep up with the hand washing.