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Share the Load: It's okay to be a burden

Hey y’all, Wynnie here. I had a thing happen today that reminded me of something I’ve been wanting to say for a while. And no, this absolutely is not me calling out whoever reminded me of it 💋

I’ve found people often get worried about being a burden. I hear it often. “I don’t want to burden you”, “oh it’s too much, I don’t want to be a burden”, “I just feel like such a burden”. It sucks to feel that way, and it honestly sucks to hear too. A way people will often respond is by saying something like “oh, you’re not a burden at all”, but I don’t think that direction is super helpful. I mean, it might be, sometimes, for some situations. Better, I feel, is acknowledging the weight, and that it’s something worth bearing.

Care does weigh us down. Sometimes quite literally, like when we must physically lift someone out of the bathtub they can no longer get out of on their own, or when they’re a young child who can’t walk as far as you can and needs to be carried, or at the end of life when we may need to carry that very real, physical weight one last time. That very real physical weight is true, but also true is the very real emotional weight of caring for someone’s body, heart, and mind in ways that don’t require hoisting the body itself. It’s a weight that is worth it. It’s how we manage to raise children. It’s how we make it through the tough times in our life. Caring for our physically and emotionally wounded or disabled is very literally a survival adaptation recognized in our genus’s fossil record. Otzi the ice man shows signs of having recovered from long past wounds that would have made him a burden to those he loved, and we know that it was worth it to them because we can see where that carrying, that caring, that love took him with the rest of his life.

We are allowed to burden one another, and we are allowed to carry another’s burden. We are allowed to be carried and we are allowed to carry one another. I say it often, we survive and thrive because we care for each other. It’s not a super snappy motto, but it’s a good one. The only reason I have survived some of the most emotionally difficult times of my life is because of people accepting a portion of my burden, helping me carry the load so I didn’t have to do it alone. Heck, I’ve made a literal career out of helping others carry their burdens, and that won’t stop me from doing it for love instead of money.

Acknowledging the weight, the burden, is important too because we can take on too much. Whether all at once, or being weighed down by the same weight over time, there are times when those of us who help carry the load must set it down. Sometimes we will carry too much and neglect ourselves, refuse to set it down until we collapse. Sometimes that might leave us bitter, or feeling crushed that we could not do more. If we don’t acknowledge that yes, it very much is a burden worth carrying, we risk so much.

Please, work towards not being afraid of being a burden, but instead to be grateful others are willing to help you carry yours as you carry others.


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