I have written about the power of vulnerability a couple of times over the last few months because it is so near and dear to my heart. Why is asking for help so hard? Why do so many of us chose to suffer alone? We may lack that close connection with friends or family and worry that our imperfections would hurt the relationship. What if they think differently of us? We fear being a burden when we need emotional support. After all, no one likes to take on someone else’s burden, right?
We think of emotional support like a pitcher of water from which we pour each time we ask for help. Our friend pours a little bit out every time we need to vent or process something painful. If it’s something small, it might be a trickle. If we need them for something serious, it’s more like a fast pour. When the pitcher is empty, we assume that our friend has had enough of our burdens, or maybe they just can’t handle it any longer. We assume that they are too consumed with their own troubles to take on ours.
I challenge you to shift your thinking. Instead of a pitcher, imagine that your friend lives on a beautiful ranch. Your friend moved onto this ranch in order to share its beauty with friends and loved ones. When you ask for help, your friend gladly shares from the stream of flowing water that runs through the property. Sure, in times of drought, the stream runs a little low, but it always provides. Not only does the water last, it would sadly go unappreciated if no one comes for it.
You see, asking a friend for help isn’t about using up a limited supply of support (water). It’s quite the opposite. Opening up to a friend is like giving a gift because it is a privilege to be trusted with a friend’s pain. Even though allowing a friend to share in your pain feels like a burden, it’s actually the greatest privilege a friendship can receive.
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern
Under Supervision of Tiffany Smith LPC-S, LMFT-S, NCC