This week I had some emotional discomfort come up around receiving help from people who choose to love and support me.
I've known for a long time that I'm not the best at accepting help. I don't think I'm unique in this manner, as we are taught to be strong and independent = to look after our own shit and therefore not to impose on others by needing their help.
After doing some reflection on the feelings that were coming up for me I think this comes from two main places for me. The first is my need to be needed, to be the one looking after others so that I have purpose and value in the lives of others, because if I bring them value then they will want me around, I won't be easily replaced or disposed of.
The second is around accountability and self responsibility - my life is what I've created, so I therefore can't impose on others by asking for or accepting help.
A little more back story...last week we found out my partner had broken his leg. After 6 hours at the A&E we finally got home at around 10pm on Tuesday night, all pretty tired, especially our 7 month old. Shaun was in an above the knee cast, so pretty immobile. Then on Tuesday this week we went to the hospital for a follow up with the Orthopedic Clinic, and they decided to change his cast to one below the knee - another long 4 hour wait.
I also returned to work about a month ago, working part time from home, and have decided not to put Lachie into childcare at this time. While it is lovely to have Shaun home, he hates not being able to function normally and started climbing the walls after about 2 days. He also can't help as much as he usually does, and needs me to do more for him.
A couple of friends had asked if I/we needed anything, and I replied with "thank you but we're fine". But a couple of friends decided to help out anyway and cook our dinners for a week. This has not only taken weight off my shoulders to not have to think about what to cook, make sure we have everything to make it, cook it, then clean up, but wrapped me in the love and support of my friends who love us and wanted to help.
I felt guilty though. Guilty to be taking from others. Questioning if I've given them enough during our friendship to receive this. Guilty for others having to go out of their way to help us when we should be capable to deal with the situations that arise in our lives, and many, but not all of them, by choice.
I've been sitting with these feelings to uncover where they come from and create a new narrative. I do deserve the love and help of others, it is perfectly ok to give and receive, I am not a burden. The people who love me won't replace or dispose of me. Unwinding these lifelong beliefs isn't easy, but I feel like this is the start of the next chapter to understanding myself I am stepping into.