For many years, I’ve tried to be self-sufficient in as many areas of my life as possible. I think this is rooted in a few different parts of my personality. First, my strong sense of justice chafes at asking someone for something without offering anything in return. I don’t like my relationships to feel out of balance; at least I don’t want to be the one feeling indebted to the other person. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want other people feeling indebted to me either, but I prefer to feel like I give at least as much as I get in a relationship. This ties in to the second thing which is that I tend to treat my friendships as delicate and fragile and I’m afraid that if I’m not careful, they’ll shatter. This makes me hesitant to rely on people because I’m afraid if I’m seen as a burden, it will irreparably damage the friendship that I value so much. Finally, I think pride plays a big part in it. I want to be strong enough, wise enough, hardworking enough to prove that I don’t need anyone else. I want people to see me keeping it together no matter what life throws at me.
Unfortunately, as a result, I often feel closed off from others. I don’t often let people in on my struggles and worries, I don’t let them see the tears when I’m hurting. It’s a difficult place to be because as much as I like looking like I’ve got a handle on things, I’m not ashamed to talk about my weakness, but as previously mentioned, I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to bum people out with my sob stories; it’s so much easier to just stick to surface level topics and keep the mood light. It’s also hard because I know, in most cases, there’s nothing my friends can do for me and I personally hate that feeling of helplessness when a friend is experiencing trouble in their life, but there’s not one thing I can do about it. I want to get in there and fix the problem, but when that’s not an option, it can turn into an exercise in frustration and futility.
I think, in a way, this need to be self-sufficient ties in to my singleness. My default mode is co-dependency, I want to care for someone and have them care for me and to be so wrapped up in each others lives that we can’t imagine another way to be. Without someone to fill that role, I’ve shut myself off decided I have to be completely independent, but what I think I really need is a balance. I need to find a way to rely on friends, share our burdens with each other, but still be strong enough to make it on my own when push comes to shove. My prayer today is that God would help me find that balance.