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Challenge: Taking Care of YOU

A Therapist/Mom’s advice on how to let others help you

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So, my five year old son was “helping” me carry a laundry basket the other day (I say “helping” in quotation marks because you know exactly how it went down). I was really the one carrying it and he was only thinking that he was helping me. I can still see his serious facial expression as his knuckles turned white because he was gripping the basket so hard. The truth is, he could have let go at any moment and it wouldn’t have fallen. I had it the entire time.

How many times do we do this? We hold onto something SO tightly- our demeanor serious, our knuckles white from the firm grip we think we have. We are so afraid to let go. But, are we really the ones holding it all together? What would happen if we simply released our grip? (Are you cringing? Because I am). It’s a difficult thought, isn’t it? For me, it’s a thought that conjures up a lot of fear. What would get dropped? What wouldn’t get done? What would the consequences be? But, if we are being really honest with ourselves, isn’t the REAL question “Who will catch me if I fall?” That’s ultimately what it comes down to, isn’t it? If I drop something, who will be there to help me pick it up? Who will pick ME up?

Now, I am going to drop some tough truth bombs on you for a second (grab your protective gear, your ‘big girl pants’, or whatever else you need). If you are anything like your fellow “white-knucklers”, it’s hard to let go enough to trust someone else to catch you. What inevitably ends up happening is this: First, you take on everything yourself. Then, people around you start thinking that you will just handle it and start handing you even more stuff. Finally, you end up resentful that no one around seems to notice how stressed out you are. The next thing you know, your laundry basket is full to the brim of last weeks clothes, every last pair of dirty underwear, and now you are wearing your bathing suit bottoms because nothing else is clean (don’t judge, you know you’ve done it). AND NO ONE ELSE IS HELPING YOU!!! Does this sound familiar at all? It’s not that no one around you is willing to help, they just assume you’ve got it and try to stay out of your way. I heard someone say the other day “Don’t go on vacation for one week. Go on vacation for two weeks because after one week you come back to the same problems. But after two weeks, it becomes someone else’s problem”. What I’m trying to say is, if you trust someone else enough to carry some of the load (and then let them carry the load), you might find that you have less on your hands. But, you have to trust others to take care of it (even if they do it in a different way or timeline than you would have...*ahem*). We’ve also got to allow enough time and space for someone else to start filling in the gap. This is a little nerve-racking, yes. But, we’ve got to let go of the idea that the outcome all depends on us.

When we are holding onto something so tight that our knuckles are turning white, that is a signal. When we are clinging to something so tight that we are afraid to let it go, that is a warning sign. Sweet friend, stop trying to carry everything yourself. I hate to break it to you, but you are not the glue holding everything together. And if you let go, it will not all fall apart. Give those around you a chance to step up to the plate (without trying to control their swing). And, ultimately, know that God has got you (He’s ultimately the one carrying our laundry baskets anyway).


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