As kids, it's expected of us to depend on our family in times of need. Want a snack? Ask mom. Need someone to fix your flat tire? Call dad. Struggling to solve that last math equation? Text your sister.
But, there comes a time when you need to start fending for yourself - making your own food, fixing what's broken, and figuring out solutions to issues on your own. Unfortunately, some people are still stuck in that dependency phase as adults & require around-the-clock care for a need that cannot be met by another: happiness. Before we continue, I think it's important to ask ourselves a few questions just to gauge our self-reliance...
- Do you feel hurt when someone doesn't invite you to a birthday party or any other social event?
- Do you find it hard to be alone?
- Do you reach out to another before attempting to fix it yourself?
- Do you become upset when someone does not text back immediately?
- Do you crave validation from your peers or in the workplace?
It's okay if your answer was yes to one or more of these questions... I know mine was. However, it's not okay to let yourself remain stagnant in these practices and put that sort of burden on those around you - it's just not fair. You are the only person in control of your emotions. Period. You can't expect people to drop what they're doing every time you hit a bump in the road. There comes a point in time where you need to be responsible for the way you react and respond to tough situations.
For instance, I used to be close friends with a girl who would call me in tears every time her boyfriend would not text back in a timely manner. I'm serious. It was like our weekly routine: she'd get upset, phone me in an incoherent tantrum, and I'd have to drive over to console her with compliments and hugs. It was exhausting. If those few months of our friendship taught me anything, it was never to be that kind of person.
I knew it wasn't her fault - she had been coddled her entire life. Still, that was no way to treat your so-called "closest friend". My relationship with her helped me to realize that whatever I said or did wasn't going to fix the way she felt. It was up to her to change her attitude, to be her own person, to mend her own issues. Not mine.
I still look back on those days when I find myself texting my entire contact list, asking for some kind of validation when I am caught off guard or don't get the reaction I had hoped for. Sometimes all it takes is asking yourself, "What do I want from this person?" or "Is this something I can conquer on my own?"
But hear me out: I am in NO way encouraging you to mask your dark feelings or hide your pain in times of struggles. I believe it is extremely important to reach out to your support system when you need help, but sometimes when you fight these demons on your own, you come out much stronger because of it. It's okay to lean on others when times are hard. But most of the time, only you can change the way you feel inside.