Recently, I had a friend almost in tears because she had gotten sick and felt so poorly that people had to take care of her.
You are never a burden, I told her.
Today, I had a friend ask me to talk, but prefaced the conversation by saying she felt bad for asking because she thought she was being "annoying" or that our conversations were "repetitive."
You are never a burden, I also told her.
This is my immediate reaction to others when they apologize for "being too much," bringing up the same topic again and again, or needing support.
My goal in life is to constantly be in relationship with other people and I see no better way to achieve this than by consistently being there for the people I love.
The interesting thing here is that while this is my immediate reaction to others, as I take a step back, I am realizing more and more that I do not practice what I preach. How many times have I not turned to others, not wanting to seem weak, ask for help, or be a bother?
Particularly on my college campus, there is a certain culture in which everyone tries to seem they "have it together." You're doing great in your classes, succeeding in all your extracurriculars, and have an amazing group of friends. Nothing else is going on, right?
I have fallen into this trap time and time again, wanting to seem like I have everything figured out, not wanting to burden others with the internal struggles I am going through.
Yet as someone who values authentic living, this counters that very notion. How can I live as my truest self if I don't allow people to see my low points, along with my highs?
How can I tell people they are never a burden while still seeing myself as one?
The people in our life are in our lives for a reason, and the right people will always be there when you need it. I tell people that I am ALWAYS there should they need anything, yet I am one who asks for that same help less often.
I write this because maybe you're experiencing this, too. You, who have some conflicts or struggles going on, but are afraid to share them with the people you love for the same fears I have mentioned. I understand how you feel.
It is time to stop thinking that we have to be strong enough to handle everything on our own, in fact, we aren't meant to. We do not always have to put on a brave face or act like everything is okay.
We are not a burden to the people who love us.
I've found that you can find out a lot about a person based on how they respond to the bad days, as opposed to the good ones. The moments where we open up about our experiences are moments that pave the way for vulnerability and also for greater clarity into the people we want to keep in our life.
Repeat after me: I am never a burden to the people who love me.
And next time you're afraid to tell someone you're struggling, remember that this is exactly what we are on earth to do: be in relationship with others, which includes connecting with others through our experiences.
You never know how hearing about your experience could affect someone else. Being open and asking someone to support you offers space for them to ask for that same support in return.
Here's to living beautifully messy lives worth sharing with others.