Dear “I Must Be A Burden”

So many times throughout my life, I’ve had friends struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, or trauma tell me, “I don’t want to be a burden.” The guilt and shame of asking for a listening ear, or the refusal to seek reassurance and love, is heartbreaking.

I’ve uttered the same words countless times. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to bring you down. I don’t want to rehash the same issue again and again. I don’t want to drain your energy or take from the joy you have today.

Dear, I Must Be A Burden,

You are a bright spot in my life. When you text me and share your heart, or call me in tears, I feel awe. Awe that you would share something so vulnerable. Awe that you would bare your beautiful soul and allow me to catch a glimmer of who you are.

Such a sweet, powerful, loving essence. I feel inspired. And humbled. Humbled that you trust me enough to cry on my shoulder or vent or reveal your wounds—the scars you keep hidden for fear of rejection and further trauma.

Your texts make me feel better. Like I can help. Like I can be of value to someone. Feed someone else’s soul. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I always feel like I’m taking. You give me a chance to give. To be strong. To prove to myself and to you that together we can be strong . . . and also vulnerable.

You give me a chance to likewise bare my soul to you. In letting down your walls, you give me permission to do the same. And after chatting with you, I feel peace. Your love and power inspire me. Your vulnerability challenges me. Your heart pushes me to try again. Our talk helps me gain wisdom as much as it does you, for the lessons we exchange bury deeper in each of our hearts.

Dear one, there may be times I tell you I can’t talk about deep stuff right now. That’s my way of setting up a boundary . . . so we can again have vulnerable talks and so you’ll know you’re not a burden. I won’t let you be, because my boundaries are set in such a way that I can take care of myself and still sit beside you. And likewise I am open to hearing your boundaries when my time of need arises.

As for rehashing the same issue, I’m here to listen and offer gentle insight, fully recognizing my job isn’t to fix you or help you jump from A to B. That is your journey, and I realize I am here to help you along the path, just as you are there for me. I don’t mind hearing the same issue. This tells me you are working through a core issue and working so hard on it, your mind and heart swirl with mingled tension and passion. I understand in times of change, especially at the foundational level, emotions run strong. Grief. Anger. Even joy. It’s not bad, it’s beautiful. It’s the nature of transition. When the old begins to shed and you learn how to step into the new. It’s scary as fuck, and frustrating to hell, and beautiful right down to the soul.

I love you. I’m listening. You are a light in my life, and a balm to my soul. Sweet one, never feel a burden. Strive for your light. For your dream. For your light. That is all I ask, even if you are unable to do more than stick one toe a hair’s breadth in front of the other . . . or stand still and cry. Trust that I will communicate my needs—I will tell you when and if I need room to myself. Other than that, allow me, please, to be part of this journey. I may sound selfish, but I would miss the benefit you bring me.

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