At a young very young age our minds are fed with notions like “take pride in the work you do” or “be proud of yourself”, but do we value the consequences of holding this lens on the world? I remember hearing voices from teachers and coaches telling me to “hold your head up to the world and take charge”, and “be stoic and prove to the world you have the strength inside to do anything you want!” This exclusionary, fend for yourself attitude is drilled into our minds over and over again until is becomes habitual in our lives.
Considering this approach to nurturing our youth, is it not probable that most us struggle to ask for help? This thought makes us cringe and we would rather stay stuck spinning our wheels with no answers and zero progress. I don’t think we consciously make a decision to stay stuck, I think that we just deny the benefits and learning that can take place from reaching out when you are in need.
At our basic level are we not ‘beings’ who need physical connection (via, a mothers touch) and love in order to grow? From the time we were in the womb we react to the tension of muscles, tone of voice, nutrients that the mother was feeding us with. Once we are brought into this big new world, do we not need touch and affection every single day? Can we survive without the support of another being (mother/father)?
A few years pass by and we start leaving the nest and head off to school where a teacher and assistant begin to fill nurturing role for part of the day, helping us to develop our life skills even further. Once again the environment is set up with utmost care and love for the children. The teaching is performed with gentle tact and we begin to develop from their supportive care.
This sort of development continues forward as we age and make our way into the work force and independence. Our minds are filled with a paradox. We are told to be stoic and independent in the world, fighting for our next step but the early age took a whole different view on things (sharing is caring). So when people get to a place of making that leap of faith into adulthood they are left with an internal conflict.
“You mean to say I need to have care and love for my peers, and yet I need to shut down the skills you preached to me for so many years of love and kindness for all and begin a new competitive battle? This new perspective involves me getting ahead and fighting for what I want to do and accomplish in a life?”
A bit confusing , isn’t it?
On the one side of our minds we want to share and connect with the people all around us, and on the other we begin to operate with the “take what is mine” approach. Now what happens when you get hit with one of those curve balls that life can throw at us? You get knocked down hard and it hurts. You struggle for a while and then slowly get back on your feet and dust yourself off from the wreckage. Are you then allowed to ask for help, or do you reject the idea because you have always been told to be strong and smart enough to handle anything?
The once wide open spaces of life have gone away and you are pushed into a dark corner. You look for your way out, yet remain stuck. All you have to do is ask for someone to open the door to the dark room and lead you back to the path abundant path of life. Do you ask for that door to be opened, or do you keep walking around in circles trying variations of the same solution you have always used before but it doesn’t work this time. It begins to hurt more and you feel even more lost, then when you have experience several failed attempts at opening the door your self-critic chimes in and labels you a failure.
One of the most interesting things about this situation that we can all get into is that it feels great to help others succeed. You feel empowered, and you have a certain life energy working through your veins that is filled with love and courage that wasn’t as vibrant when you were working alone. But our ego stands tall and says, “no thank you, I don’t need your help. I am smart enough and can take the wheel and steer.” We don’t think that just maybe that same bright experience is felt by the person that could help me get back on my feet. We don’t want to surrender to the idea that, just maybe someone else might have a better solution to this life problem.
Today you might try perform a small experience, a simple test. Maybe just for once, you could give yourself a little break from the struggle and reach out. Maybe just today you could recognize that you will never have to fight this journey alone. Regardless of what your fears and failures have told you in the past, the solution doesn’t always need to come from within.