The Beauty of Help

I have been told most of my life that strength is my best attribute. Fairly recently though, I have come to realize it's also one of my downfalls. Since being diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia I struggle daily to find balance between my natural tenacity for all things difficult and accepting the human side of being vulnerable. This is the side I told myself no one wanted to hear about. Truthfully, it was me who couldn't accept weakness in myself.

Yes, I am strong. I know very well how to persevere through adversity. But is it also a sign of great strength to be able to ask for help? This, perhaps takes more courage.

You know, strength serves me so well. Its what helps me overcome little annoyances and massive heartaches. It keeps my head on straight when my world is spinning out of control. Strength is there to help with the daily push and pull of life. It's a map that keeps me on course, and a compass that points to the North Star when I am lost. It's the brave face I am able to put on when a loved one is lost or I am let down by someone I cared about.

Therefore, given all that my strength does for me, it's no wonder I am reluctant to relinquish even a small piece of it.

However, for all the good that strength provides it can't be all that I have. If I never give it a break or take a break from it, in time it will break me. If I rely too much on it, I will eventually lack the ability to ask for help. I have learned, the hard way albeit, you have to give people a reason to reach out. I've been told time and time again that loved ones are not mind readers nor are they punching bags or doormats. If someone cares enough to reach out or to respond to a cry for help, chances are they want to be there for me. They appreciate the beauty of my strength, but love the vulnerability in my eyes even more. When you push people away in hopes of appearing tough, they eventually stop reaching out.

And then what? Strength will be all thats left, and thats a lonely road to walk alone. Time and time again I have excelled at the art of camouflage, showing only what is shiny and bright and expected of myself. It didn't get me very far. Not in my own development or in my development of lasting relationships with others. I've always embraced and nurtured the chance to witness vulnerability in others and shunned my own.

So the next time someone asks if I am o.k. I will remember to: Stop. Take a second. Breathe. Put aside all my negative preconceived notions of what help, weakness, and vulnerability are, and answer truthfully and from my heart.

You never know. Saying yes to help might mean the world to someone else as well.

Lisa, I met a man a couple of weeks ago. I work at a restaurant. He had some bandages on his right arm and I kinda teased him about meetin up with some vampires. it turns out he had been to diola-sys. He goes three times per week. I asked if he was on a waiting list for kidney transplant. His wife said no, he is not, because he has already had a heart transplant. They don't want to risk any complications because of that. So he will have to deal with this the rest of this life.

My point is saying all of this is... when I came home I told my husband that maybe this isn't so bad ~( although it sure does have it's moments-- i'll grant you, when meds don't work so great) I have my heart, I have my kidneys.. It just really made me think... Ya know??

Sometimes I wonder if people are brought into our lives to make us think about things ... or help us to cope better.. Sorta like fate I guess. or Faith or You

Peace, Min

This is beautiful Lisa - I just printed it and put it on my fridge. It is so very me. I am very new to this pain, and all the torment of treatment, and trying to make others understand. I recently had a converstaion with my hubby where he made me see two things: 1) I havent talked to my two best girlfiends in a couple of weeks (I dont want to burden them, they have enough going on) and 2) When i am clearly in pain and hubby says: are you ok, I nod my head yes at him and go into our bedroom and cry. (I don't want to burden him, he has so much to take care of with our home and family while I am out of commission). So I am trying to learn how to say NO, I am not ok, and YES, I need you even if it is only to hold my hand. We are both starting to feel like we are fighting this together, and this really is a wonderful feeling. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Not only are you strong, but you are very wise. I am going to copy this and send to my soon-to-be 18-year daughter, if you do not mind. She is very 'strong' and always "okay". I too pride myself on strength, but broke down this last year (only to my husband, though) after experiencing 2 deaths in my family and discovering I had TN. Why is it so hard to appear vulnerable?

What an amazing post — thank you so much for sharing.