Being the oldest daughter in a large family is not without its challenges. Older children learn a measure of independence that can oftentimes be viewed as pride when they become adults. They are used to taking care of others and tend to automatically “do what needs to be done”. As a result, they tend to be fiercely independent. Independence is healthy, that is, until it becomes detrimental to our own well-being.
I had a “health scare” last week and, going against everything I know or would do for others, my response was the complete opposite of reason. For one, I didn’t seek help right away and when I finally decided to go, I went alone- leaving the house and driving myself to the ER.
In retrospect, I realize it wasn’t the most rational thing to do. It was, however, the way I’ve always handled my life- not “bothering” anyone and simply “getting it done” without “making waves”. While this way of thinking has always been the action model for my life, it has also put me at risk– in this case, driving myself to the ER when I really didn’t have to.
Asking for help has admittedly been a challenge in some areas of my life. Having been used to disappointment and dealing with unreliable people, it just made sense to adhere to the adage “if you want it done correctly, do it yourself.”
By not reaching out, either under personal or professional circumstances, we effectively cut ourselves off from whatever avenues that could be available to assist us. In my case, I’ve been blessed to have an extremely supportive family (that I felt I was sparing from what I thought was a serious problem). I didn’t want to alarm them “in the moment”. This is one of my self-imposed obstacles and I’m truly a work in progress. Is it also pride? I suppose that’s a possibility. I guess if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…
Fortunately, my health scare wasn’t serious but had it been, I could easily have put myself (and others) at risk by not asking my brother—who was home at the time—to drive me (he has forgiven me, by the way-smiles). Being independent is great for personal growth and building character, but it’s also okay to rely on dependable people. I as get older, I’m learning that it’s all right to take off that older sibling hat and reach out for help.
Bolder Sisters, do you find it easy to reach out for help?
Kim Woods earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at DeVry University. She developed a love for writing poetry and short stories as a child. Kim is socially conscience and her desire to use her life experiences to help others is what drives her to seek opportunities to share her story. She decided to write freelance for the Bolder Sister because it is her desire that women evolve and thrive in their own authentic truth.
Kim resides in Chicago, Illinois and has one son, Donald. In addition to writing, she spends free time creating unique wall art, decorating, and teaching herself how to sculpture. She also has a blog Who Will Speak.
2 thoughts on “Dangerous Independence”
Enjoyed the article Kim! I am the oldest of 6 and I too find it difficult to reach out for help. I feel like I’m suppose to an ‘independent’ example for my siblings. Unfortunately that feeling spills over into other areas in my life but its a ‘work in progress’!
Thank you! It truly is a work in progress, Yolanda. Turning off that switch is really