“You need someone to take care of you.” This one simple sentence, while probably said with good intentions, set me in a fit of rage. Okay, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it did not sit well with me.
Why, you ask? Doesn’t everyone want to be taken care of or be a ‘kept’ man or woman? The truth is, while it is nice to have someone there, saying someone needs to be taken care of is actually degrading and hurtful….at least to me. In my mind, it makes me feel like I am weak and cannot do things on my own. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not claiming I am a ‘strong, independent woman,’ nor is this post about being one.
The reason I feel this way is because I was raised to be self sufficient and for someone to say I need to be taken care of makes me feel as if I am not self efficient and that without other people, I cannot succeed. I’ve worked too hard to have people think this of me…I can pay my own bills and rent and work full time to make this happen. I don’t need or expect people to take care of me, especially when it comes to things I am perfectly capable of doing myself.
That is not to say that I don’t want or need help from time to time. However, there is a difference between ‘taking care of someone’ and ‘offering a shoulder/support system’ from time to time. Telling someone they need to be taken care of makes it seem as if they are helpless and cannot do things on their own. Saying that it is ok for them to accept support when necessary lets them know that you know they can take care of themselves, but it is ok to ask for help. This is important because of how it makes people feel and how they are viewed by others. Know the difference.