I am so glad I decided to extend last week’s book club into this week, because I am absolutely loving Brene Brown’s Rising Strong. It is challenging me personally on so many levels, and I have really enjoyed taking my time and soaking up the words as I read through it slowly.
“Connection doesn’t exist without giving and receiving. We need to give, and we need to need.”
I scoped about this quote yesterday in-depth, because it hit me SO hard this week. When I first read this quote, I thought to myself, “Need to need?” That seemed almost strange to me at first, until I really started reflecting on it.
I was raised by parents who modeled what it means to be a giver. I’m so grateful my parents taught me how to be a servant.
As a result, though, I saw firsthand how draining it can be when people are always needing and taking and asking and are never giving back in any way. I told myself I didn’t want to ever be that person who was constantly taking and needing.
So what did I do? I swung the pendulum to the other side. I decided I wanted to always be the giver — the solutions girl, the girl who has her act together, the girl who is always pouring into other people.
I became what Brene Brown describes as an over-functioner: “Over-functioners say ‘I won’t fail. I will do. I don’t need help. I help.‘”
I don’t like to feel needy. And if I admit I’m struggling, I usually feel like I am letting people down or being a needy person.
I’m slowly learning, though, that it is equally as important to ask for help, and that letting people into our lives and struggles and needs is a gift we can give to them. It’s being real, vulnerable, authentic, and human.
Chapter 8 of Rising Strong on needing to need really hit home for me in this area.
When was the last time you asked someone to help you?
This is a question I had to ask myself and be honest about. You see — the past few weeks have been a really difficult time for me, personally. There have been some issues going on with situations that I can’t talk about publicly that have left me feeling overwhelmed, hurt, frustrated, sad, and a whole host of other emotions.
I’ve wanted to keep it all together and be okay, but it’s been SO heavy, and it’s been hurting pretty badly. There have been many days when I walked around feeling on the verge of tears — and I’m not usually one to be super emotional or cry.
On Sunday, I shared with my community group a little bit of what’s been going on and asked for prayer. On Monday night, I did the same with out Monday Group. In both cases, those there just cared and listened and prayed for us.
And I’m so grateful. But honestly, it was hard for me to do that, and I came away from it feeling like I was some sort of needy, drama queen. I was wondering if I should have shared and thinking maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, until I read this chapter and was re-reminded that it’s okay to need help sometimes.
“When you judge yourself for needing help, you judge those who are helping. When you attach value to giving help, you attach value to needing help. The danger of tying yourself worth to being a helper is feeling shame when you have to ask for help. Offering help is courageous and compassionate, but so is asking for help.”
Wow. If we act like we never need help, it’s almost a sign or value we wear…”I don’t need help. I’m the person who helps.”
I’ve been saying this my entire life. But the truth is that we all need to need, and there are times in our lives when we all need help.
“In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, asking for help can be shaming if we’re not raised to understand how seeking help is human and foundational to connection.”
Vulnerability and honesty leads to trust within relationships. It’s important not to be afraid to share your struggles with those closest to you, and I am learning to be better about this as I embrace authentic friendships.
“The bottom line is that we need each other, and not just the civilized, proper, convenient kind of need. Not one of us gets through this life without expressing desperate, messy, and uncivilized need — the kind we are reminded of when we come face to face with someone who is in a deep struggle.”
Just recently, one of my friends was in a really traumatic situation. When I called her up to see how she was doing, she immediately broke down into ugly sobs.
In that moment, I didn’t think, “Oh, what a needy person.” Instead, my heart broke for her and it actually knit my heart closer to hers because of her willingness to be honest and vulnerable with me.
My challenge for you today:
Do you need to ask for help, instead of being frustrated or hurt because nobody is giving it? Or do you maybe need to ask someone if/how you can help them?