Ladies, raise your hand if your mom told you, "I'm raising you to be an independent woman that don’t need nobody *neck roll* to take care of you." As a child, respecting my mom and a good majority of her "talks" it became embedded in my brain to be self sufficient by any means necessary; no exceptions.
I watched mom dukes exude so much strength and in the notion of not letting her down - I had no choice but to follow the path she laid out for me…because it's the correct thing to do; right?
While this was done in an effort to make sure I would never go without or have to bargain to get the bare minimum from someone else - the connotation of raising a strong black woman practically numbs certain emotions that should naturally be experienced. We're taught to endure life's challenges, be strong, don’t show too much weakness, be the pillar of your family and show how effective you are as superwoman. The list goes on, and on..and on.
Vulnerability is not a disease.
Is it always uncomfortable or does it make an appearance in the most inconvenient times? Absolutely. I can probably count on one hand (if that) of how many times I saw my mom cry growing up. I never knew when something was going on and never got to experience the not so glamorous part of witnessing what adulthood was really like - until I became one. Being vulnerable is recognizing when to showcase emotions for the other person directly involved to connect with you on a deeper level. Vulnerability shouldn’t be viewed as being weak or incompetent. I'm not telling you to leave it unattended; exposing yourself to be damaged by life or the actions of others. Vulnerability doesn’t equal instability - not guarding it does.
Let someone be nice to AND for you.
Whether you are married, dating, in a situationship or otherwise, stepping aside for someone to show an act of kindness or service to you is not wrong. I know you may believe you're saving your significant other from doing something you normally are used to doing on your own (or that you can do quicker..you know us women believe we do everything better), but it undermines their capability and could potentially cripple any future actions, so when you do finally want a break - you won't get one. They are under the impression you have it all covered. Understand any type of relationship, be it friend or intimate requires the door of recurring reciprocity. I was once asked, "Why am I here if I can't do anything for you?" One of the few questions Ki couldn't explain. Trust the good intentions, actions and thoughts from the people you care about - because apparently they also care for you. Be on the receiving end sometimes - don’t reject the compassion you make a priority to freely give others.
Know when to ask for help. If you haven't experienced burnout, live long enough and you will.
Let me paint this picture quick. You have all 1,453,789 tasks listed out. You're getting everything done (or you believe so). We are cooking with fish grease now! You have a system in place that is basically foolproof. Then, life happens. Something throws a wrench in your plans which causes you to detour. Somehow you're able to bounce back and get back to the regularly scheduled program. Then life happens again - again and again. You want out and the next thing you know you're breaking down crying in the car. Stretched out at the altar. Or you got finished cussing out the customer service rep because you think they deserved it….*looks around*
When you rely on your own strength burnout isn't just something that happens, it becomes embedded in your lifestyle. Lay your pride down for two seconds and know when it's time to throw your hands up. Focus on effectively getting tasks done, not just crossing them off of the list.
Please understand I am not telling you independence is not necessary - it's definitely mandatory to navigate the channels of life the best way possible. You can still scream I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T when it drops in the club; I ain't taking that away from you. Just like with anything else this takes time, awareness and practice. The true freedom of independence recognizes when one's load is too much to bare alone and soliciting the help of those around you. Mama's around the world want us to define our independence, not adapt to theirs. That's where the freedom really lies.