Friday, July 09, 2010

Lean on Me

I like to think that I am a strong, independent woman and that I can take care of myself; but, what really gives me strength are the people that I lean on, family members, and particularly, my friends.

I feel comfortable being vulnerable with them because I know they love me unconditionally and they will tell me the truth.  I lean on my friends and hope they will lean on me when they need to.

I was listening to the song the other day, “Lean on Me”.

I was particularly drawn to these words, “Lean on me, when you're not strong and I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on, for it won't be long 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on”.

They are profoundly simple words.  I was reminded of one of my high school friends.  I had a close girlfriend to whom I would tell everything.  I would go to her for advice and tell her about mistakes I had made.  I leaned on her and she was there for me;  but, the one thing I always remembered is that she never really told me her deep inner thoughts or worries.  It seemed as if she had her world under control and didn’t need my help.  It felt strange because I wanted to be there for her to lean on, but there never seemed to be a need.  For that reason, our friendship was never really complete.

Years later, I realized that she had secrets of her own that she couldn’t or didn’t want to share with me.  She, for some reason, didn’t lean on me or anyone for that fact.

Looking back and thinking of the lyrics to “Lean on Me”, it reminds that me that though we all strive to be independent and self-reliant, one of the greatest gifts that we have is a chance to lean on our friends and family when we need to and to be there for them to reciprocate.

Sometimes being strong isn’t the goal, it’s being human and appreciating the invaluable relationships that we have.  Sometimes allowing ourselves to seek help or advice from others shows more strength than trying to handle it all by ourselves.  Allowing ourselves to admit that we can’t do it alone and that we are human is OK and, believe it or not, it strengthens that bond with those we lean on.