I've always felt I was a pretty secure person. Once I moved beyond those insecure teenage years of course. I am always encouraging people, girls especially, to be strong, and go after what they deserve. To not be shy. To not be afraid. Validate themselves by going after what means the most to them. I remind myself to muster up my own courage to do these things all of the time. So I'm not afraid to put myself out there and stick to my guns. But I am often ashamed to ask for what I need.
If no one knows that you are in need of something - be it money, love, or a break from the chaos - it is hard for them to provide what you could use the most. There are moments in time where you have to put aside your pride and be honest with those who can help. There is a tremendous sense of relief when you confess your needs. Because inevitably, those you reach out to come through. Without judgement. They come through because they care.
Think about when someone you care for is suffering. You wish you knew what to do. How to be of the most help. Your greatest desire is to provide relief and make things better. You feel lost and useless and bumble around with attempts to ease their burden, only to find that what you've offered or provided is the same thing everyone else is doing. Don't waste time. Your time, being troubled over what you don't have. Their time, trying to figure out what you need most.
I recently read a book by Anne Lamott about her life as a single mom during her son's first year. A friend came by on one particularly challenging day and asked her what one thing she really would like to have him do for her the most. She threw caution to the wind and decided to confess her greatest need at that moment - for her bathroom to be cleaned. And as ashamed as she was to admit it, the result was pure joy. Her friend happily scrubbed away and left her with a place to scrub away her own stress. She was honest. Most of us would have shooed our friend away, trying to put up a front of having it all together. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes, it is okay to ask for what we need. Someone to give us a ride, a loan, a night out, a hug.
Every now and then, such as with Ms. Lamott, you don't have to ask for what you need - someone asks you to tell them. When you get so lucky, for God's sake, answer honestly. And the rest of the time, don't wait for your friends to ask if everything's all right. If you're as good at hiding your reality as you think, they'll never figure it out. And you'll never get the relief you need. Time is precious. Ask. And ask again. Until you get what you need to make the time worthwhile.