All this time, I believed I was a strong woman. Strong enough to survive on my own.
I’ve learned that life isn’t always a bowl of fresh cherries, sometimes we find rotten and moldy ones. Life is full of happiness, along with pain, heartbreak, and failures. And I managed to recover from all those moments of difficulties. It was tough, but I bounced back like a superball once I overcame them all. I even called myself a ‘comeback queen’, believing that I could handle anything that was coming.
A major source of strength came from the inspirational, motivational and self-help books I’ve been reading since I was 13. My encouragement came from the positive quotes I put on my vision board. I thought I knew how to handle anything, and even if I didn’t, I always pretended I did.
I started my first year of college with eagerness and determination. I made many new friends and people came to know me as a positive and wise woman. A lot of them asked for advice from me and I was more than happy to help them. It gave me great satisfaction to see them gain their strength back after listening to my counsel and guidance.
I had some life crises too, but I never told anyone about how I felt. I had friends, but I never went to them to pour my heart out or when I needed a shoulder to cry on. I never told anyone what was really inside my head. I believed I was strong enough and I could handle everything on my own.
Some people knew about difficulties I faced, but I refused their help and always told them, “I’m fine.” I pushed them all away because I help people, not the other way around.
That was how I wanted it to be.
I thought this showed how strong I was.
But soon I was proven wrong.
He was one of my friends in college. Of all my friends, there was someone different about him. He was the person I was most comfortable with. I had a lot of friends, but they weren’t close friends. Even in high school, people were friendly with me, but there were no real friendships.
Our friendship was different, and little did I know, he was better at helping people than me. He could always sense if I had a problem or something was troubling me. Unlike others, he didn’t offer to help right away.
He let me try to figure everything out by myself.
One day, he asked me to sit with him where there was no one around, and he told me he’d figured me out.
He told me he could see that I was unhappy the whole time. He could see that I kept all my emotions bottled up inside me, all the pain, misery and disappointment. He could see that I faked it all the time. My happiness, my smile, and my laughs, were all a facade.
When he was done talking, I couldn’t help but cry.
It was the first time in years that I’d cried in front of someone. I just sat there, sobbing for God knows how long. He didn’t say anything. He just kept quiet, waiting for me until I was done.
I told him everything after I stopped crying. Everything that happened to me, all the issues I’d faced in the past few years. It took hours for me to finish telling him the story of my life and he just patiently listened. It felt good to have someone to listen. My shoulders felt lighter as if the weight of the world has been lifted off from them. All this time, I’d been carrying a burden and I didn’t realize it.
This time, I didn’t refuse his help.
We’ve been best friends ever since. I’ve realized that I never really a best friend. I never opened up to people, instead, I shoved them away so they couldn’t see my vulnerability, so no one could get close to me.
I’ve missed out on real friendship. But not anymore.
I started opening up more, not just with him but will all my friends. Putting my trust in them made me feel more connected. It was time to take off my armor and start embracing everything that I feared in my life. Fear was what motivated me, not strength.
I also realized that strength isn’t always about fighting – sometimes it’s about letting go. That’s why sharing what’s inside our heart and mind is helpful. A problem shared is a problem halved.
I understand now that seeking help is not the sign of weakness, in fact, it’s the opposite.