I am a bit of a contradictory person. I am fiercely independent and a romantic. I like to be strong and fragile. I am blonde, but also quite smart. I love helping other people, but I don’t want to be a burden on them.
It is okay and natural to have contradictory feelings. The brain is complex and influenced by so many factors. I personally find value in being self-sufficient, intelligent, helpful, and a positive force in the world. This does not match very well with asking someone to sit quietly with me while I have a crying spell or bring me food when I haven’t eaten all day because I couldn’t leave my dorm.
I find my worth in helping others. If I am, not only not helping others, but also needing someone else’s help, then I feel like a failure. This might be different for many of you, but this is how I feel and I don’t like it. What if everyone else felt the same way and no one let anyone help?
There are times when you will have to push through your illness or suffering and help yourself or others. But you are not Superman, you are a human. Humans get tired, humans forget to pick up their meds, humans need affection, humans forget their plans, humans celebrate, humans need help. Let people love and care for you. You do not have a monopoly on being helpful.
My mum explained to me that relationships are full of give and take. Some friends take your time, advice, and care. Some friends provide these things. Some friendships are more balanced. If all your friends drain your energy and never look out for you, you will be exhausted. If you are constantly pampered and taking, your friends will begin to resent you. (side note: if you need consistent care, or feel as though you are not contributing enough to your friends, this does not make you selfish. Maybe try reflecting on how you can be a better friend or appreciate the help given, or ask your friend if there is anything you can do. Do not feel guilty for having needs. I repeat: do not feel guilty for having needs.)
Try to find a balance of giving and taking overall in your friendships.
Additionally, there will be phases in your life when you need more help. If you are diagnosed with an illness, going through a breakup, grieving a death, crazy busy and stressed from finals, etc. be prepared to accept more help. There will be times that you can return the kindness.
People want to help, let them.