What does it mean to be a burden to others?
For different people this answer can stretch for what seems like miles from one extreme to another. There is the obvious burden for our elderly. Unable to care for themselves 100% or dependent on others for shopping, driving, personal care, even tech support. Sometimes the need is even as simple as companionship or mental stimulation. All these things take time and effort. Once capable adults may find themselves in need of help on weekly or even daily basis.
There can be other scenarios for adults that are harder to see. Emotional, intellectual or even medical challenges or disabilities. These often cause dependency issues relating to transportation, housing, finances amongst others.
Tragedies or accidents or diseases with crippling effects. Confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed. Limited mobility during recovery. Medical care costs, time traveling to appointments, the red tape of insurance claims, referrals, the list goes on. Each scenario can make the individual feel like a burden to others. A dependency problem. One may perceive themselves to be a burden while others may be willing to offer support without thinking of their actions as burdensome. The mismatch can become a barrier between people.
Hope. A simple four-letter word. We can all offer hope to others through our positive actions. Sending a note card, a text or making the phone call. Checking in to offer a helping hand. Some will accept while others will deny any help. They may even hide the fact that they need assistance. Watch for other signs with those who deny any need for help. Depression. Isolation. Self-harm. Lack of interest in religion. Giving away prized possessions. These signs could lead to other issues.
Maybe it’s their stubbornness or I can do it mentality. Maybe they don’t want to waste others’ time. Let’s face it, we will all find our selves in this scenario at some point in time. How will you handle the burden dilemma? Will you accept help willingly? Will you ask for what you need? Will you want to be isolated and do it all on your own? Will you consider quitting the fight all together?
On the other end, if you offer support is it endless? Is it just a starting point? To force the one struggling to face their problems head on? Will you continue to offer support time and time again? What if somebody takes advantage of your kindness? How does one communicate to the person in need that it’s okay to have help? It’s okay to work as a team. It’s okay to not be okay all the time, but it’s never okay to take help for granted.
Sometimes the one who needs the help becomes a taker because the giver allows it. One must always set boundaries. You can offer help but expect change and effort (or at the very least gratitude) in return. And watch out for reverse abuse. Words can hurt. The one who feels they are a burden can lash out at the ones closest to them. Unless you have that hard conversation the hole will continue to build. Consistent and honest communication can go a long way toward sharing the burdens so no one gets overwhelmed.