She was an American Girl.

I spent this weekend with a friend down in Chicago; she's going through something big in her personal life and her husband had to be away on a major business trip, so I went down and we ordered Thai food and watched episodes of 30 Rock and played Mario Kart and hung out and talked like girls do. In response to her personal event, she's been receiving an outpouring of love and support from her friends, scattered all over the country. I know if some of them were closer they'd have been right there with us, nomming on curry and passing Wiimotes around; but since they couldn't, they sent her flowers and gifts and texts and phone calls. A few of them even banded together to gift her with a yoga package at a studio near her home.

This got us into a little discussion of a subject that always fascinates me - the tendency women have to feel like they don't deserve to be cared for; like we shouldn't be fussed over, like we're being trouble. Raise your hand if you are nodding your head and recognizing the feeling.

There's this sense that no matter what's going on in our lives, we should just be strong and soldier on, and no one needs to worry about us, go through any trouble for us, or go out of their way. It's saying: I'm not important. I'm speaking outside my particular friend's experience, of course, but this is a feeling I come across in myself and in other women again and again.

Where does this come from?

My mother certainly didn't raise me this way. She has absolutely no use for the Meek Helpmeet brand of woman, and I don't either. And most of the women I know certainly weren't raised that way. Is it cultural? Do we not want to be seen as high maintenance? Do we not want to be seen as a bitch? Do we not want to wear out our welcome with our friends and family? Our rational brains know that everyone needs help sometime, and we deserve to expect that help. As my friend said, if any of her friends needed help or love, she'd gladly extend it without a second thought. Yet getting that help and love in return raises a certain amount of discomfort and embarrassment. I (more than) occasionally find myself with this attitude even towards my husband - that I don't want to be high maintenance and trouble, even on days when I'm having such trouble with my Crohn's that the couch is all I can manage. And yes, I realize how absolutely insane that is. He's my husband. It's his job to take care of me. I take care of him on a daily basis, and gladly, because I love to. Why is it so hard to truly believe that he feels the same way about me?

Is this just a female thing? Do men ever feel this too? How do you feel when people go out of their way to take care of you?