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>Has becoming independent women made us unable to ask for help ?

>A friend raised an interesting point, she’s had a really tough year fighting a range of illnesses that have left her exhausted and, at times, barely able to get out of bed. And yet, despite all of this she has been reluctant to ask for help from those around her.

Talking to her, we began to wonder if its not that she didn’t want to ask to help but that because she has been so used to coping on her own that she felt unable to break through her own facade of independence and ask for a helping hand.
Mulling this over, I realise that we might be onto something. Like her, I left home at 18 and went to university and since then have supported myself. I’ve prided myself on my self reliance, on the fact that I have carved out a career that leaves me financially independent, that I made a home for myself (and laterly for my family) and that I can cope on my own.
But has this actually left me a more vulnerable person? Yes when the going is good I am able to stride through life but when it gets more difficult, I do find it hard to break down the carefully constructed front of ‘coping’ and to say that I need help, that I need emotional support, that actually I’m not doing terribly well at something.
And am I doing my friends a disservice by not asking for help – when I have asked they have been incredibly generous with their time. Has the fact that I’ve not asked them pushed them away slightly, not given them an opportunity to help out and made it harder for them to find a way to show that they do care about what is going on to me? Have I actually made this process harder for myself than it needed to be?
So I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try and show that vulnerability a bit more (perhaps not in a work context – I’m not quite that brave !) and to admit that I find things tough. I’m going to be more honest and less proud. Hopefully showing that I’m vulnerable and not perfect will free me from the need for constant achievement and asking for help will not be a sign of weakness but actually a way to strengthen friendships.
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4 comments to >Has becoming independent women made us unable to ask for help ?

  • The Dotterel

    >I think you've hit on something here, MAM. Do you think it's a peculiarly British 'stiff upper lip' kind of attitude?

  • Pippa

    >I think it is perfectionism. We want to appear perfect so we don't like to look vunerable. What we don't realise (IMHO) is that it is asking for help that makes us perfect…

  • MuddynoSugar

    >One of my oldest friends told me she had never seen me cry. I said 'course you have' then realised that she probably hadn't, I do exactly the same – super supportive to my friends but don't expect the same from them for me…Yep, this is a modern phenomenon..

  • MissSearles

    >Hi, Im reading through your archives at the mo and thought I'd comment on this post!
    I dont like to ask for help because I dont want people thinking I cant cope, its a silly way to be but I really struggle to feel differently.
    My fiancee left me on christmas eve just gone and I found it so difficult to accept help. I wanted to prove i was strong and that i'd come out of it ok, and I have done, but I could have made it so much easier on myself if i'd have just asked for help.
    I didn't want to my parents to know how much I was worrying about how im going to pay the debt that he's left me with or how heart breaking it was for me to cancle the wedding day and plans..I just want people to see that im ok and that im strong, I'm suffering for it now though-I've mourned the break down of the relationship and the fact that my life isnt going to turn out how i planned just yet and I managed fine but now I've taken too mcuh on and burned myself out…yet again I didnt want to ask for help or 'admit defeat'
    I'm hoping asking for help is something that will get easier, possibly even something that will even come with age (I'm 21) once I'm happier in myself and have found my feet…

    Just my little input…going to read the rest of your posts now..will comment again when i get to present day!

    MissSearles

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