A powerful leader, business-owner, and spiritual guide once told me she regularly relies on therapists, diversity coaches, mentors, and book doctors. I thought needing help equalled weakness, but when she shared all the support she gets, she grew larger in my mind. Wiser. Braver.
I could never be that strong, I heard myself saying. I could never spend that money on my own development. I couldn’t be that good to myself.
But things change. This fall I signed up for three months of mentoring to keep going forward in my writing and add some stability to my book project. Spending money on myself felt luxurious, indulgent. But without this support, I might shrink back into the shadows. I might decide that what I have to offer doesn’t matter.
After my first mentoring session, the floors of my house felt springy. Instead of dread that I’d give up again, I felt excitement. If I fell, someone would pick me up. If I got stuck, someone would pull me out.
Our culture’s emphasis on independence and space obstructs our equally important human needs for belonging and closeness.
No matter how strong, evolved, and wise a person is, she still needs support. She needs to be seen, known, and understood. She needs someone, maybe just one person, who is there to listen to her and root for her growth.
How many of us have this? How many of us are going it alone, thinking we’re the only ones that need, that there must be something wrong with us?
Doing creative work is challenging. It ignites our fears, it tremors our confidence, it asks us to break out of boxes that may have made us feel safe.
But when we acknowledge our vulnerability, we also acknowledge our strength. To recognize without shame our need for support is an act of courage. In reaching for help, we confirm that we matter. And with this foundation, we might find the stability to speak up, to paint our vision, to share our imperfect beautiful gifts with the world.