Can You Really Survive On Your Own?
(ThyBlackMan.com) In America, there’s a huge amount of importance placed on an individual’s ability to take care of things by themselves. That’s one of the most classically “American” things there is. Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Never needing any help and refusing to let other people take care of you. The problem with that is that anyone who’s ever actually tried to live their entire lives without support ends up buried under a mountain of pressure and difficulty. Men are especially bad at asking for help since they’re taught from day one that the most important thing in the world is that they are strong and that they take care of themselves and the people around them.
But is it actually possible to live that way? To live only off your own back and never need help from anyone else? Of course not. Human beings are social animals; we need help and support from each other in order to survive. As romantic as the idea of the “self-made man” is, it’s a myth. Sure, you should always be willing to take responsibility for your happiness and your life, but that doesn’t mean that you should never ask for help when you need it. And yet, tens of thousands of people live their lives every single day as though there’s something wrong with reaching out to other people to help them get through the day. If you really want to live the best life that you can, the best thing to do is to turn to the people around you for support.
Asking for emotional support is one of the hardest things in the world for one simple reason: it requires you to make yourself vulnerable. Being vulnerable is something that many Americans are taught is a sign of weakness. This comes from the idea that all relationships and interactions are based on who has the most power. If you believe this, then it’s easy to end up thinking that becoming emotionally vulnerable gives someone else power over you. In reality, many relationships and friendships become far stronger and more supportive than they were before when people really open up to each other. If you’re going through something truly difficult, then it can be incredibly tough to deal with that on your own. But by reaching out to people in your life and asking for help, you share the load and avoid being crushed under the weight of your problems. Of course, sometimes the kind of help that you need is beyond the scope of what your family and friends can handle. When this is the case, there is absolutely no shame in needing to seek professional help.
Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. There are dozens of different varieties of therapy and counseling options that can make a huge amount of different to your general state of mind. They can help you deal with things like anxiety and depression, but they can also help you simply avoid letting problems pile on top of you and cause any serious issues in your life. Refusing to talk about your emotions doesn’t just impact you either, it can cause genuine problems in your personal relationships. Not only that but the consequences of refusing emotional support can be incredibly dangerous. The refusal of many men to ask for help when they need it is often listed as one of the most common factors in the high rates of male suicide.
Despite the fact that it’s one of the most central parts of modern life that literally everyone has to worry about, people are often pretty unwilling to talk about money. It’s one thing not to want someone flashing their cash in your face, but the problems start when people are unwilling to let the people around them know they are in some kind of financial difficulty. A great deal of the time this comes from a certain sense of shame. If you’re not able to support yourself or your family, then it’s easy to end up feeling like you’re letting them down in some way. Again this is an issue that often impacts men particularly hard since there’s a stereotype (true or not) of the man as the provider and head of the household.
The issue is that if you’re not in a position to help yourself, and you refuse to ask for help from the people around you, then you’re likely to just fall deeper and deeper into a pit of unpaid bills and bad debt. It’s important to remember that needing a little bit of a financial helping hand now and then is not the same thing as being a leech or a scrounger. If you’re taking advantage of people or systems that are in place to help you, then that’s a problem. But if you reach out of friends and family and let them know that you’re in trouble and that you need some help. There’s no shame in that. If you need quick cash, then there are plenty of safe and legal ways to go about it, whether it’s through short-term loans, government subsidies, or simply reaching out to loved ones. After you’re no longer in danger, then you can start focussing on pulling yourself back up. Once you’re financially stable, then you may well end up in a position where you’re able to repay whatever you borrowed, leaving you with a totally clear conscience.
Please don’t think that any of this means that you should refuse to take responsibility for yourself, far from it. Few things are as important as personal accountability. In the end, the only person who can make the right choices in your life is yourself. But that’s not the same thing as refusing the help and support of the people around you who care. Whether it’s the support of friends or family or support from the government, there’s nothing wrong with needing to that help, at least for a little while. As long as you’re not trying to take advantage of the kinds of support that are available to you, you won’t stop being the kind of person who is in charge of their own life.
Staff Writer; Steve Day