Most of us view independent people as strong and fearless. These people don’t appear to need others and achieve everything on their own. They get by fine and rely solely on themselves. There is a sense of achievement when we know we’ve accomplished a goal on our own, however the majority of us don’t mind calling on family and friends when we need help. But there are those who cringe at the thought of asking for help because they feel it is a sign of weakness. What’s wrong with asking for assistance, or needing people?  Surely there’s a difference between a legitimate call for help and debilitating neediness?

Perhaps it’s our thought process. We think of it as a weakness because it makes us appear vulnerable, fragile and inadequate no matter what our age. To need someone means admitting and accepting that we are incapable of doing it on our own. The burden is too much for us to shoulder by ourselves, so we ask for help to share the load. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, all we need is a shift in our mentality to view it as a strength rather than a weakness; to be brave enough to seek help, to show emotion, to seek someone else’s company, to be needed ourselves, to belong, to be seen, to be heard, requires more courage then most think.

No man is an island. There’s not a lot we can actually achieve on our own. We go through the day needing each other, interacting with each other, on every level. Even on a superficial level it is easy to see we are all part of one giant fabric. Our lives are weaved into one massive blanket of experience.

Take for instance, buying a morning coffee on your way to work. Many of us wouldn’t pay much attention to this task because it takes all of five minutes. But, on a deeper level, it’s much more than just placing an order and the barista making it. It takes more than two people to get the coffee into your hands. Someone had to grow the beans, someone else had to pack and label them, someone else had to transport them, someone else had to grind and crush them, someone else had to make the coffee cups it comes in, someone else had to prepare the coffee… you get the picture.

It takes more than one person to achieve something; even those who believe they’ve done it on their own will be surprised at just how many people helped them, although they may have been unaware at the time.

One thing for certain, people need people. As social beings, we need interaction with others; we need comfort, support and laughter. So we look to our families, because we share history and a bond; they know us well. However, not everyone has family or gets along well with them. After all, you can’t choose the people in your family. Just because you share the same gene pool does not guarantee their understanding. They might even choose not to support your decisions.

When this happens, some make their own family out of their closest friends. Friendships are different because you choose whom you befriend. Family, although important, is not the only place to find support and comfort. A sense of community and belonging can be found in close friendships as well.

The act of seeking help and needing others is not a weak gesture but in fact, a strong one. Life experiences, whether challenging or not, are richer when shared. The insurmountable seems less daunting when there is someone at your side. A balance between being independent and sharing the load is achievable; don’t let ego get in the way of asking for assistance when needed. A little company, some sound advice, or just a shoulder to cry on, may be the exact thing to boost your spirits and lift you to the next level.