This fall we’ll be discussing our new campaign, #AllTogether, a concentrated focus on how to find (and BE) a good friend, strengthen those relationships we already have, and create space for our friends in our daily lives.
Let’s start here: Why this campaign is so important in the first place!
We have to start by discussing the myths of self-sufficiency, the idea that you can live a healthy, successful life without the close impact of others.
From listening + talking to hundreds of women over the past few years, these are the three myths that pop up the most:
- If you’re smart and capable, you don’t need a whole bunch of people helping you out.
- It’s too hard to find good, honest, authentic people you can trust.
- Everyone else is busy with their own lives — you don’t want to be a burden.
We will eventually talk about all three, but today I want to discuss Myth #1: You are capable enough to manage on your own.
Truly, I get it. This was probably the biggest reason you’d find me praying at the altar of self-sufficiency.
But through therapy and a lot of self-reflection, I realized that my worth and identity was tied up in being useful to others.
I was the low-maintenance friend. The one with helpful advice. The one who has it “all together” and is the one that others go to when they need help. The one who doesn’t need hand-holding and can be praised for how strong and resilient she is.
I was The Helper ™.
It’s kind of the default role. Particularly if you are a black woman or a woman of color, we don’t typically get the space to be exhausted. Or burned out. Or even aimless. We must always be polished, driven, successful and smiling.
Because what else is there? How can The Helper ™ need help? It completely unravels our sense of self.
That’s why it’s important to shift our identity from The Helper™ to The Human ™ .
The Helper exists only to serve others.
The Human exists to be fully alive, to experience the full range of emotions available to mere mortals.
The Helper exists to make other people’s life easier.
The Human has the reminder that they deserve consideration and ease and relief too.
The Helper is a restraint. It exists to mute your voice, to shrink your presence.
The Human is a bull-horn. It gives you permission to ask for help, to lean on others, to give and receive.
By turning to The Human ™ as our new identity, we create space for all our needs and the recognition that we can not fill all of them by ourselves.
Moving from The Helper ™ to The Human ™ requires that we analyze our habits:
If I’m having a hard day, is my instinct to isolate myself or reach out for help?
If I’m struggling to figure out a problem, do I just keep working hard until I solve it or do I ask for assistance from someone who might know the answer?
If a friend asks how it’s going and honestly it’s been shitty, do I slap on a fake smile and said, “I’m good!” or do I say, “Honestly, I’ve been having a tough time.”
Becoming The Human ™ is about honesty. It’s about honoring your voice and what you truly need. There is no pretending here. Only courage and vulnerability.
It is entirely possible to move from The Helper ™ to The Human ™ on our own, but it’s easier — you probably guessed it — with community.
That’s where we can thrive, #AllTogether.