Do you sometimes or often feel that you are the strong one in your family, workplace or social circle, that everyone looks to you for support and help, but when you really need help or feel lonely, no one seems to be around and care about how you feel?
Well, you are not alone. I’d call it the Lone Lion Syndrome. Or, if you are a woman, you might be very close to the nature of a Viking woman!
For the longest time, I feel like this myself.
A counselor has once said to me, “Try to act weak, and you will give people more of a chance to take care of you!”
It didn’t sound right to me at first. What did she mean by “act weak”? I didn’t like the idea of “acting” if I didn’t feel like it myself.
But after a while, I started to appreciate what she said. Perhaps the word “act” didn’t sit well with me. But what she implied was opening myself up and inviting help and tender loving care (TLC) in a gentle manner.
Previously I had tried pleading, sarcasm, nagging and all sorts of other methods to get the help I needed. None of those really worked. Often times I had to bite the bullet and did everything myself—either because others did not know or understand what I needed or because they were unwilling. But now I have realized that: (1) it was actually me who has not properly communicated my needs; and (2) I had not shown my vulnerability.
There are better ways do get the help and love that we need from others. For example, it can be as simple as telling the person you need help from, “Would you do this for me, because I xxxxx?” The rationale really helps the person understand why you need the help at that particular moment.
Showing vulnerability is perhaps a more difficult and delicate thing for those of us who have more “yang” energy—more prone to taking initiatives and giving. It is about opening up, showing our emotions and exposing our weak side, which is generally associated with something negative in our society. Most men are raised to hide or keep their emotions in check. But even for women, in a society where we strive to be “equals” with men, we are also conditioned not to show our weaknesses. People often use the phrase “wearing my heart on my sleeve” with a kind of self-deprecating way. Yet, it is exactly through vulnerability that we allow the flow of love to circulate in our lives.
A friend of mine has introduced Brené Brown to me when we discussed the subject of vulnerability. Here is a TED Talk by her on the subject. In it, she mentions where the word “courage” comes from and how vulnerability can lead to smoother human relationships and more genuine connections.
It takes courage to reveal your weakness and vulnerability, but if you allow that, you will surely be rewarded with TLC!