I'm a pick yourself up by your own bootstraps kinda gal. I've been super independent since I showed up on Earth. A famous phrase echoing the halls from me in our house when I was very young was "I do it." And yes I did. I did many things. But the perception that I did them on my own I believe is an illusion.
The greatest things I've done in my life have always been with support. From friends, from family members, from co-workers, from teachers, from mentors, from healers, from coaches...from strangers and people close to me alike. There is a pervasive perception for many of us that to be independent, to be strong, to rise from the ashes, to work through grit, means we have to do it alone. Means we tread the path alone. And that all of those who we aspire to be who walked before us...did just that...alone. That we must find, choose, put on, and walk in the boots alone. All the time. And to do anything otherwise is weak, failing ourselves, giving away our independence, and God forbid becoming...dependent.
I've been thinking a lot lately about stigma, illusion, definitions of strength, and independence and how the whole lot stops us from stepping into our greatness. The day I started stepping into my greatness was the day I started allowing the walls, the fortress around me of hyper independence...the "I do it" alone attitude, to break down. It started when I accepted my first meditation teacher as my teacher. When I called him during times where I felt stuck to get a new perspective. When I hired my coach to get clarity on the dreams I wanted to create. When I gave her permission to hold me accountable to my commitments. When I saw energy healers in moments of confusion. When I started reaching out to friends when I was hurt from romantic relationships. With every step, I stepped further into my power. I was taking back the steering wheel of my life with wisdom, insight, and perspective.
Sounds backwards right? I attribute this to the narrative we have about seeking support. To the stigma we've developed. Stigma of asking for support. It's so pervasive. When will we free ourselves from the conclusion that seeking support = weakness and embrace the narrative that seeking support = greatness?
Some of the brightest minds, leaders, and movers and shakers in this world know this well. They cultivate amazing support in their personal relationships, hire coaches, therapists, healers, consultants to facilitate new perspectives, tools, and insights. And yet we have a story that the exact opposite is true. That these pillars of strength are pillars of strength all on their own.
The illusion that any of us have taken every great step on our own is frankly...not true. For example, as I sit here, consider that even as I write this blog hundreds...maybe thousands of people were involved in supporting me to simply eat this bowl of oatmeal. How many people did it take to grow, cultivate, process, transport, stock, and sell my oatmeal filled with coconut, sunflower butter, hemp seeds, dates, and maple syrup?
In reality, I've concluded that the moments in life that I've been the strongest are the ones where I recognize I can't do it alone. Where I seek support big and small. When I get vulnerable and lean on others. I'm not saying that it always comes easy to me. Still sometimes I find myself being stubborn. Digging in my heals convinced that I can do something on my own. But eventually I always see that I'm never alone. I'm never doing anything on my own. And when I'm feeling "stuck" all I have to do is lean on the giant web that's already there leaning back.
For so long I believe I carried the misconception from my spiritual path that to seek support, to depend on others, created an obstacle to true freedom. This created another obstacle...simply a new egoic reason in spiritual clothing to delude myself into "going it alone." In reality, I believe it is true that we have an infinite well of resources inside of ourselves. That everything we need is inside of us. However, that doesn't mean we cut ourselves off. We never lean on anyone. Or we don't seek support. Perhaps it is through the support of others that we remember our resources inside. Our greatness. And we are supported to connect with this. To plug into this. To awaken to this.
Here's what I believe. If we were meant to be alone...we'd be created alone. There would be one single person on this planet called Earth hanging out. But that's not where we are. There is immense interdependence in every single moment of our life. I depend on many people to make this internet, this web platform available to me right now. I depend on you to read this blog. I depend on my grocery store and the many suppliers to get my food. I depend on the Washington, DC subway system to zip me around the city. Nothing I do...is devoid of support...dependency. And to believe otherwise is perhaps one of the biggest illusions I ever believed.
Finally after so many years I have a better relationship with support. I maintain a partnership with my own coach to continue having weekly sessions regardless of whether life is amazing or challenging. I have yoga, meditation, and mindfulness teachers that I continue to sit with to support me in my spiritual practice regardless of how much or how little I know. I have reiki and energy healers regardless of how in-tune with my own energy I may be. I have body workers regardless of how much or how little I'm taking care of my body. I have "go to" friends regardless of whether I need advice or just want to connect. And finally, the fear that I will loose my independence through support has flipped on it's head to find that I am my strongest, my most independent, my best, when I have support from others. And that it wasn't until I embraced support that I was unable to uncover the greatness inside of me.
What if the strongest thing you can do...the bravest thing you can do is ask for support? Is to recognize when your solutions to a challenge are not producing something different? What if the best way you can value yourself...love yourself...is to get over your pride and open to being basked in love, care, encouragement from others in your life?
This week's Joy Tip Wednesday is about exercising the most strength you've ever exercised by asking for support. Making requests. And being open to receiving that support. Get ready to discover a new way of relating to what it means to be strong and stand on your own two feet.
Are you ready for support? If so, I'd love to support you. I'm happy to say that part of my new relationship with embracing the power of support over the years is coaching others and providing support back to them. Through coaching I partner with people to create what they want to create in their lives. Deeper connections with their most authentic selves. Discovering their purpose. Changing careers. Starting and strengthening relationships. Starting a new business. What do you desire to create? How might you be able to step into your greatness to manifest your biggest dreams? Contact me for a free 30 minute consultation to get started.