I know you. I know your heart. You’re the girl in the invisible armor—the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve but still somehow finds a way to shield that from the rest of the world. You’ve been through hell and back, and at times, it seemed it would never end. Maybe you’ve been surrounded by family, friends, and acquaintances. Maybe you haven’t or maybe you just knew all of those people around you weren’t really there for you.
You have a keen intuition many don’t understand or give you credit for. You have an incredibly giving spirit and heart. Perhaps the deep, internal longing for someone to be there for you drives you to be as giving of yourself to others as possible, at times, even to your own detriment.
You know things you don’t understand, and you feel things so deeply they burn into your soul—creating an ache for the ability to be able to do something about all the injustices, both small and large, you see happen on a daily basis.
You’re the girl who cries on her way to work but walks in with a smile on her face and speaks kind words to anyone who crosses her path—never giving anyone a reason to think she is hurting or going through her own personal struggles.
You are the girl who carries on and somehow finds a way to get through struggles, never letting anyone in, never letting anyone know, and never asking for help.
I know you because I am you.
We are the iron women—the women hiding our true, inner identity, hiding behind the armor we create for ourselves, fighting for everything.
We feel, we hurt, and we experience loss, sadness, and personal tragedies just like everyone else. Yet, we treat ourselves almost as if we aren’t allowed to be like everyone else—to be human. We feel as if our problems are our own to figure out and we are best not to put the burden of our problems on others. As if expressing ourselves and being honest about our struggles would be some kind of punishable offense or crime.
It makes no sense, really. How could someone who feels so deeply for others, who cares so deeply about others, and who is so generous and passionate, feel so badly about reaching out for help themselves? It’s a question I still cannot answer. It’s illogical and elusive.
At times, when I look back on my own life, I find myself wondering how I came out of the nightmare experiences I’ve had unbroken and still breathing. So many of these experiences had me feeling like I was holding my breath until it was over, holding on by a string of strength.
I never reached out to anyone for help in any way—whether it be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or just some advice, support, and borrowed strength. And I know many reading this have been there as well.
How did we do it? How did we make it through?
The answer lies within each of us. We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for and so much more resilient than we think we are. We all have incredible power within ourselves that can move mountains and be the catalyst to positive change.
Where we fall short, so often, is not realizing we don’t have to get through it alone. The strength we hold is powerful when harnessed correctly, but we deprive ourselves of the replenishment we need when we refuse to ask for help and end up completely depleting ourselves, leaving us running on fumes and with barely anything left to give ourselves, let alone anyone else.
I am a girl who never asks for help. I am you. We are not so different.
But I am morphing into the girl who is learning to ask for help, and by doing so, I am learning to love myself and accept myself for exactly who I am. There is no shame in reaching out to a friend, a family member, or even a complete stranger—just to vent, to have someone listen to you and perhaps give you a different perspective on what you’ve been grappling with.
You are only human, and you are not expected to be any more than that.
Maybe it was something we experienced in our childhoods, maybe it was the abusive relationship(s) we were in, or maybe it was just the lack of any kind of self-confidence being instilled into us by those who should have, that led us to feel like we need to be invincible—to be embarrassed to ask for the help we need. Whatever the case may be, I can assure you it is not wrong or shameful, nor does it make you any less of a person, to just reach out and ask for help when you need it.
We all need to cry sometimes and just let it all out and some of us actually prefer to be alone, and that’s OK. But how much better would it feel if sometimes we could cry and have someone there who would listen to us and give us a hug? Even if you feel like you have no one in your life who would do that for you (and let me tell you, I’ve been there, too), I can promise, you do. There is someone out there who wants to be there for you, who wants to help you, and who wants to just, if nothing else, let you know you are not alone. You are not alone. I am here with you all, and I’ve been through it all, too.
I write this for all of you who feel like you need to do it all and be everything to everyone, all while suppressing your human need to have someone be there for you. Let my words envelop you as one, big, tight bear-hug and speak to your heart—letting you know you are so strong, beautiful, and resilient. Letting you know you have so much power within you that is meant to do great things and is meant to help others. Letting you know you have a beautiful soul and an amazing heart and you, too, are so deserving of the love, generosity, and graciousness you so openly shower others with.
It’s OK to ask for help. Reach out.
Speak up and don’t be afraid to just take that armor off for a while and rest in the beautiful mess of emotions you feel. Let the world see you for who you are and watch what great things can happen when we learn it’s OK to be strong and vulnerable. It’s OK to be open to the help that is waiting, and it’s OK to start saying no to the things that deplete you and yes to the things YOU need and YOU desire.
Be the girl who learns to ask for help when she needs it and never feels guilty about it because she is a beautiful, strong goddess that deserves every good thing the universe has to offer. And don’t ever forget it.
Previously published on Letterpile