For as long as I can remember I've been fiercely independent...
I was the defiant kindergarten kid who wanted to walk instead of taking the bus home with the other kids (the bus driver found me and made me get on the bus). I was the one who left home at seventeen for college and barely looked back, the one who left a “stable” job as an engineer at twenty two and moved countries, with no job, and no plan.
I grew up like any normal kid of divorcing parents, somewhere in that struggle between not knowing exactly what to do and not wanting to burden either side of the parent equation with my questions or needs. I was praised for my independence and so I wore it like a badge of honor. Asking for help never really felt like an option.
The Independence Myth...
Many believe that independence and strength are the same thing. That needing others makes us “needy” and weakens our resolve, ability and capacity for success. They believe that real happiness and abundance belong to those who can build them, “McGyver style” from nothing but the cards life has dealt them, stuck together with singlemindedness, and sheer force of will. I used to be one of those people...
I was the one who believed that asking for help was for suckers and that anything I wanted I could have if put my head down and worked hard enough. And it worked, for a while...
And then came... children. Having kids (twins actually), put a crack in the “I don't need help” facade. I realized for the first time in a long time that I needed (no, I wanted) my mommy, and I'm extremely grateful that she was there! Kids made me painfully aware of the fact that we can't do it alone... and we're not meant to. They changed the way I saw myself and everyone around me.
And then came.... starting my own business; My second “awakening”, amplified in many ways by being in a new home, new country, and a new and unfamiliar city. The reflex to batten down the hatches and go it alone was strong, but this time was different, I was different. This time, full of passion and experience, and determined to make a difference, I reached out instead of drawing in. And in doing so connected with a compassionate mob of kindred spirits who had similar challenges, questions, and fears. Was this what I'd been missing for so many years..? Little by little I started asking for help and it felt good and I realized that help doesn't always look or feel the way we think or expect it to.
The truth about connection...
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. “- Brené Brown
It's taken me years and a life-time of experience to get to this place. And what I know now is something I would never have guessed back in my fiercely independent twenties, which is that no matter what we endeavour to do in life, we can't do it alone.
Technically we can, sure, there are plenty of folks out there doing what they do without the mental, emotional and physical support that could make the difference between surviving and thriving. But what I'm finding in my life, is that connection makes all the difference.
Having someone in your corner, to celebrate your wins (no matter how big or small), help you make sense of your mistakes, inspire, conspire and see your light (even when you can't) is the most valuable thing in life.
So find your tribe, your people, your sangha, your community of many or one who will build you up, and give you the strength, and sometimes the clarity you need to see through your own stories to your truth. These people are VITAL to your health and happiness. And chances are, they're right beside you or all around you waiting to contribute to your greatness. And when you find them (or they find you), above all be generous enough to allow them to support you. Soften into and embrace these relationships because the moment you open your heart... the magic happens!
INTENTION: In what areas of your life do you need or want support? We all need or want support in SOME area. Think about when and where you feel powerless, confused or anxious. Commit to asking for what you need. Allow those around you to contribute to your process of finding solutions (yeah I know it's scary but it will change your life). Start small if you need to. Consider that in reaching out, rather than closing in, you're creating connection and giving another person the opportunity to be generous, and who doesn't want to be generous?
Chara Caruthers is a Yoga therapist and Ayurvedic practitioner with a simple, powerful message... Know yourself, Love Yourself. She's also the founder of Bliss Body &Soul, an on and offline resource dedicated to health and happiness seekers who want more than a “One-Size-Fits-All” approach to living! She offers wellness mentoring, workshops, programs and lots of free mind-body wisdom at BlissBodyandSoul.com.