I’ve been thinking a lot about when to seek help from others in moments of looking for clarity. Where I am on this topic is dramatically different than where I was 11 years ago when I first moved to Washington, DC.
I consider myself to be a pick yourself up by your bootstraps kinda woman. This means that when the going got tough, I became determined to figure things out on my own, and most often I did. I was pretty good at problem solving, creative thinking, and outside-the-box exploration. In fact, alternative perspectives and viewpoints, asking the right questions, is something I’ve always been good at. My co-workers could count on me to ask the questions that hadn’t been asked and challenge the angles that hadn’t been challenged.
In my early twenties I became very spiritually curious. My time off was increasingly consumed with being on retreat, attending seminars, and learning. I surrounded myself with some of the greatest religious scholars, I asked them burning questions in my heart, and I diligently took note of their every word. I spent hours reading, studying, and practicing. Over time, I became a master of implementation and experimentation. Taking the advice dished out to me and trying it on for size. This enriched my life greatly. When I first started, I worked with teachers in group classes. Overtime, I became hungry for private one-to-one work and eventually met a teacher that would take me as their student.
Two major developments happened over time.
1 - I realized that I was still trying to DIY some of my biggest challenges and getting no where because I was really stubborn and most of all scared. Afraid of appearing weak. Afraid that seeking support on some personal issues meant that I was less than. Not smart enough, not with it enough. This is not how I saw myself...the strong, kick doors down, get stuff done, nothing can mow me down, kinda woman I was. But the truth was I was pretty stuck in some areas and I had run out of ideas.
2- As I opened up, as I started being more vulnerable, as I started being comfortable with asking for support, somewhere along the way, I lost my own voice. I found myself feeling the need to call my meditation teacher before taking any decision. I felt frozen when I couldn’t get in touch with someone to be a sounding board. Ultimately, I recognize now that I felt very disempowered and had no idea what to do about it.
As one can imagine, this made me emotionally allergic to the idea of seeking support, but stuck about what to do when I felt stuck.
Here’s how this happened: I decided my clarity came from other people and put my power in someone else’s hands.
Later I realized: Clarity is co-created together in a supportive process when you own your personal power and truth is only determined by you.
Whether you are working with a teacher, healer, coach, or friend to explore a topic, challenge, or area of your life, any amount of clarity that comes from that interaction is co-created.
No one handed you clarity on a silver platter for you to just receive. Your clarity is co-created with you as an active, powerful, agent in the process. It’s co-created from their ideas and your’s bouncing off of each other to create a moment of clear seeing. Or it’s the ideas you listen to bouncing off of your thoughts and processing to create a window of clarity. If you are working with a professional, these awesomely skilled individuals are trained to help you find clarity by asking just the right questions, making just the right comments, and pushing just the right amount to propel the bouncing around of your ideas into an easy coasting boat towards clarity and ultimately your truth.
This is dramatically different than how I was previously relating to clarity. I understood all of my aha moments ONLY to be because of either myself OR my teachers, coaches, and healers, but never a co-created process. I handed more power to them and kept less power for myself. Believing that either my power can be taken away and therefore choosing to DIY everything or handing my power completely over when seeking support. This is how over time what could otherwise be supportive interactions felt disempowering. Because ultimately I was mistakenly handing all of my power over in the situation rather than recognizing that my personal power was, and always is in my hands.
I also came to realize that truth only comes from you. Truth comes from your internal assessment of the co-created clarity and determining what it means for you. You could also call truth conclusion. What does the window of clarity mean for your career moving forward? For whether you should take time off to rejuvenate? For whether you should invest your time in a new hobby? What you decide, the aha now I must do this moment is your internal created truth. Your resonance with your inner being.
No one can take your power away. Only you can give it away.
Let’s zoom back to my realization that I lost my own truth. For some time I pulled back from getting support, thinking that I needed to go back to the old mode of figuring things out alone. This worked for some challenges, but absolutely not for others. One day while eating a salad I started reflecting on the dozens, maybe hundreds, of people it took for me to get the ingredients for the bowl of salad I was enjoying. My reflection moved to the clothes I was wearing, the furniture I was sitting on, and then the aha’s I’ve had. Everything is co-created. Literally everything. Heck, to be born it took two people!
Today regularly work with teachers, healers, and coaches to co-create clarity. I delight in the growth it creates for me, the questions it uniquely makes me ponder, and the viewpoints I would otherwise miss. I cherish the unique skilled, absolutely impartial, tribe of mentors, advisors, and collaborators. I now know my personal power always resides within myself and if I’m feeling disempowered it’s because I’ve given my power away. There is a need I have that hasn’t been addressed, there is a truth that I took on that isn’t mine, and it’s up to me to hand my power back to myself. It’s up to me to decide what is true for me based on the co-created moments of clarity I’ve found along the way.
I recently heard that one of the most powerful women in the world that I respect very deeply, Oprah Winfrey, at any given time has four coaches.
People who achieve greatness never it alone. Simply living...is never done alone.
I got fired up about this exploration after a member of my Facebook group mentioned that they would seek support if they experienced a crisis. While they clarified that they have a lot of support in their circle, the comment brought me back to my old days working in international development where I and colleagues sought support only if there was a crisis...and sometimes not even then. I watched people experience deep depths of depression, substance abuse, and relationships broken apart. I watched us get stuck, un-become ourselves, and emerge jaded.
Let me say this...seeking support is the strongest thing you can do. Crisis or not.
If you are wondering whether seeking support professional or otherwise, would help you spark some clarity, here are some questions to consider:
Have you been mulling on this for a while? Is this an issue or topic that’s been on your mind for days? Weeks? Months? Years? If so, and clarity hasn’t come to your doorstep, it might be time to co-create. Most of us believe if we just give something more time, clarity will come. Maybe. Or you could create clarity sooner by reaching out for support.
Are you resisting support because you believe you’ll lose yourself? Are you afraid that you’ll be like me losing your truth? The good news is that you already have a big red “watch out for this” sign by me raising it in your awareness. The other good news is that you always and forever can keep your power, just by deciding to bring it back. This starts with awareness of when you give it away. Rather than blaming others, let go of the need to blame, recognize that you accidentally handed over your gorgeous pot of power goodness and gently retrieve it back. No drama, external or internal. The more you do this, the easier it becomes.
What would be possible if someone not so close to my situation took a peak? Often we are wayyyyyy too in our stuff to even see what is happening. We are so wrapped up in our own stories about how things are, what can and cannot be, our options, and our paths forward that we are like that youtube video of the mini car driver who is trying to parallel park the same way over and over again and just isn’t somehow fitting the car in the obviously big enough parking spot. I know you’ve seen that video. Enrolling support can bring in the video recording person standing in the apartment on the second story window that can totally see that your parking spot is big enough for your car.
Am I resisting support because I “should” be able to figure this out on my own? Ok, this is the biggest question to ask. That day when I was sitting with my salad bowl was a sobering moment. I recognized that pride was getting in the way of finding an outside perspective of a situation I had been spinning on for some time. If I am not going to eat a salad bowl without the co-created process of thousands of others, then what has it for me that my very complex human problems will always and forever only be solved by me? This isn’t a “less than” recognition. A limitation in our brilliance. This is a moment of embracing our interconnected reality. Then, support, encouragement, exploration, co-creation is obvious, enjoyable, empowering. Co-creation is the fabric of reality of every single thing from the computer I’m typing on to the clothes I’m wearing to the new ideas I have about how to run my business.
The world runs on co-creation. It’s about time we started embracing it.
For this week’s Joy Tip I want to invite you to co-create with someone in an area where you’ve been going it alone for a while. Here’s how:
Set an intention to seek support while standing in your personal power.
Choose an area, issue, challenge in your life that you’ve been going it alone.
Seek support that you’ve never sought before. Get creative. Ask a new friend you’ve never asked for advice from. Reach out to a family member who might have interesting ideas. Open up to your partner about the problem you’ve been shy to explore. Hire a professional for skillful, impartial, and unattached perspective.
Then tell me how it goes. Write me back in the comments below about how you sought support and how it impacted your clarity.
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