The undeniable truth is that there is something wrong with the way that I view being taken care of—and I don’t believe that I am alone on this.
I have mastered the art of caring for myself.
I have been steadily employed since the age of thirteen, own my own car, I know how to cook, balance a check book, and change a tire on my car. I can survive in the wilderness, navigate a trail, or find my way through a city with ease.
I take time to pamper myself when I need, do yoga, dance, get a pedicure, or simply find quiet moments to reset my mind.
I am strong, passionate, and self-sufficient.
So why is it that when someone I love attempts to care for me, I become a huffy child?
It is absurd that I would be annoyed at someone making sure I eat, wear sunscreen, remember to bring a jacket, or move my car on street sweeping day. These are reminders spoken out of love and a concern for my safety and happiness. My annoyance is motivated by the belief that I am strong enough to do it all on my own and a deep-seated belief that to accept care is to admit weakness.
There is a stigma associated with care giving. Caregivers manage the health and safety of children, the elderly, and mentally or physically handicapped adults. Logically, this means that if I need help from someone else, there is something wrong with me.
What is missed in this assertion is that needing and allowing are two very different things.
I will share with you four simple truths about letting others care for you…but if nothing else sinks in remember:
Your strength is not decreased by allowing another person to care for you.
1. It is a gift to allow another person to love you.
Every person has a different love language.
The idea being that in order to feel loved everyone has a preferred method of communication. Some people want to have quality time, some people like to receive gifts, and some people want physical affection. Then there are two final love languages that are tied most directly to the act of caring, acts of service and words of affirmation. What is important to remember here is that to accepting a form of love does not mean that you are lacking anything.
By accepting love you are allowing someone else to show you that they care, that you are appreciated and treasured.
2. You are still in control.
No one is taking over your life, no one is forcing you to do a damn thing.
This is entirely your decision to allow someone else to be concerned with your life and well being. You lose nothing and gain a support team, a cheerleader, a water boy, whatever the hell you allow them to be for you.
You decide the size and scope of the roll they are allowed to play in your world.
3. You might learn something new.
Have you ever noticed that the people who helped you grow into who you are now cared about you? The skills I listed above that qualify me to be a self sufficient person were all learned from people that cared for me—I can cook because my father taught me how, I can balance a check book because of a math teacher, I can change a tire because a neighbor refused to watch me cry over a flat, and surviving in the wilderness was a skill taught by my Girlscout leaders.
Lessons in finding peace in times of chaos came from youth group leaders who volunteered to endure large rooms of hormonal teenagers, bless their very patient hearts.
When you accept care from others, you grow as a person.
4. No one is asking you to stop caring for yourself.
You know how best to take care of your mental state, physical needs, and spiritual health. No one is questioning that. It’s important that you continue to be a self-sufficient person, because if you are not you will become a leech, dependent on the people around you and draining of their energy.
The key is to find balance. Exude the strength and grace you know you possess, but delight in the moments when people say, “I know you can do this on your own, but I want to give you the gift of allowing me to care.”
Author: Kelly Visel
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Ana Sofia Guerreirinho at Flickr