Updated: Aug 11, 2019
It didn’t take long for an opportunity to say yes to come along. I received a text from a colleague with whom I don’t work closely. She asked if she could ride with me to a conference. I, of course, was looking forward to the quiet drive as I envisioned relaxing and listening to an audiobook by Bréne Brown. This is an instance where I would typically make up a reason why I couldn’t do this and say no. Instead, I took a deep breath, and I replied, “yes.”
I was very nervous that morning as I thought about what we might talk about, awkward silences, and discomfort. I thought maybe I could just put on an audiobook and call it good. After I picked my colleague up, we quickly got into conversation. I felt very comfortable talking with her, and I learned that we had some things in common. She was divorced and was a single mom for a long time. She has since met a man and found love again. She talked about her first years of divorce and how she cultivated a community of women and men who supported her and her children. She shared how deeply grateful she was to all of the people who helped and that her children are who they are today because of the fantastic group of people who became their extended family.
What struck me most was her resourcefulness and her belief that needing people to help wasn’t a statement about her capability. She knew she needed help to raise her children the way she wanted to raise them, and this wasn’t a reflection about her worth or abilities. She had a strong sense of who she was and is and knows her worth. The belief she had in herself came across as we spoke about many different subjects. She wasn’t resentful, judgemental, or apologetic. I was struck by her confidence that demonstrated pride in her family and was never boastful. It was beautiful to engage with her. I walked away thinking about the connection I just made, which I wouldn’t have otherwise done had I not taken this risk.
I have a belief system deeply ingrained in me that I have to do it all, and I have to do it myself. I have turned away help because of this belief. In cases when I truly needed help, I accepted it, but believed it was a statement about my incapabilities as a person. I am learning that receiving assistance is a form of receiving love. The people in my life care about my children and me and are here to support us. My acceptance of this help allows them to demonstrate their love and support. This realization is helping me to make changes in my life and change the dialogue in my head. It has also created stronger relationships with those I am closest to as I accept their love.
Message to my daughters: Love shows up in many different ways in life. Be open to the love that surrounds you and receive the love that is extended to you with sincere gratitude.