I pride myself on being an independent person, a self-sufficient problem solver. But I have realized that sometimes life is simply better when you have someone around to share in life’s trials and tribulations.
I am very much a do-it-yourself kind of girl. I have never been good at asking for help. Maybe my independent nature was ingrained by my upbringing as an only child, but for as long as I can remember I’ve believed I should be able to do everything on my own and that asking for assistance or advice is a sign of weakness. I never want to inconvenience anyone, and when someone does end up helping me out with something, I feel a weight of obligation on my shoulders to return the favor tenfold.
Fortunately I have people in my life that ignore this. They support me and give me advice and go out of their way to help me when I truly need it, usually asking nothing in return. Sometimes my husband doesn’t even give me a choice in the matter. I try to remember to embrace the extra support and helping hands, and I have found that life can be so much easier when you have people in your corner to help you face what’s in front of you.
Last week, after a difficult doctor appointment, I returned to my car in the hospital’s parking garage only to have it sputter and die. My gaslight had come on during my drive to my appointment, and then I had parked on a sideways incline in the parking garage, preventing enough gas from reaching my engine to get my car going.
I weighed my options. It was 100 degrees outside, the closest gas station was two miles away, and I was in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood. My energy for taking on the world was a bit depleted at that moment, so I decided to swallow my pride.
When I called my mom, she and my grandpa asked me where I was and hopped in the car, immediately coming to my rescue. There was no guilt trip, no groans or complaints of inconvenience, no comments on my idiocy. When they arrived, as my grandpa poured gas into my tank, he shared with me one of his own stories about running out of gas in the middle of nowhere with his wife and kids in the car. He refused the extra money I tried to give him, accepting only what the gas had cost him.
The gratitude I felt filled me to the rim. It was such a relief to know that there was someone close-by to help me when I truly needed it. Rather than internally obsessing over how I should have just handled the situation myself without inconveniencing others, I thanked my mom and grandpa, hugging them both before I graciously started my car and headed home.
A couple of days later, I experienced the roughest two days at work since I started my job six months ago. I was a ball of anxiety, worrying and fretting about my future, my career, my value, my decisions, all the while trying not to care so much and wondering why I did.
I couldn’t get my head straight, so I emailed my best friend. She gave me excellent advice, telling me to leave it all at the office, have a few drinks, and have a fun weekend. Then she would give me all the advice I needed, if I still needed any once I took a break to relax.
That night my husband took me out for margaritas and talked me through everything, letting me vent, explain, bounce ideas off of him, and him listening and collaborating with me.
Allowing myself to lean on my best friend and husband and to “be weak” for a bit, openly expressing my struggles and insecurities, and asking for advice and feedback was a relief. Afterwards I could see the situation so much more clearly, and I didn’t feel so alone and isolated.
I am learning not to be so hard on myself when I find myself wanting the help of others. We all need someone sometimes, and I am so thankful that when I do, someone is there. Life happens. It’s nice to have people in your corner when it does.