Why Being Independent Isn’t as Bad-Ass as You Think

No man is an island.  – John Dunne

island

It takes a village.  To do anything.

I used to think I could do everything on my own.  And I did.  I refused to ask for help unless I really, really needed it and even then I’d only ask my mother.  

In line with my perfectionistic tendencies, I assumed I should be able to handle everything on my own, and get it all done well.  

Doing it all yourself is the quickest way to make your life the smallest version of what it can be.  And that’s no way to live.

The other day, I brought my kids to the pool.  As soon as they jumped in… BOOM!  Thunder clapped.  They were so thrilled, let me tell you, when I said, “Jump right on out!”

They were equally thrilled when I let them know we had to go to the grocery store.  No swimming AND errands.  Awesome.

It started to rain on the way to the store, and while we were in there, the downpour let loose.  It was one of those downpours that was so fast and furious, you’d think it would only last for five minutes.  It lasted for the full thirty minutes we were in the store…and kept raging.

Lots of people were trying to wait it out, standing just outside the entrance to the store, under shelter.  The kids and I waited for a couple of minutes inside, and then I said, that’s it.  I told the kids we can hustle some teamwork, get out of this store, and get home.  It’s just a little rain.

I ran to get the car while my oldest waited inside with the younger two.  As soon as he saw me pull up, the oldest came outside with the cart full of groceries and the younger two.  My middle boy helped my youngest into the car and hopped in himself, while my oldest and I loaded up the car quickly.  Boom.  Done.  T-e-a-m-w-o-r-k.

Now if I’d tried to do it on my own, I could very easily have been frustrated, have felt “alone,” and missed out on the opportunity to teach my kids that you really can JUST DO IT.  

When you consistently expect yourself to be super-Miss-independent you do three no-so-positive things:

1  You create an unbearable burden on yourself when you assume you have to do everything yourself.  You create much more stress than necessary.  We’re all in this together, and we all have unique gifts we offer to others.  That means other people have gifts that can help you.  Take advantage of that.

2  You miss out on the opportunities that come from working with other people.  Other people know of ideas to use and people to work with that you don’t.  If you remain steadfast in your stance that you have to be independent, you’ll miss out on all of those opportunities.

3  You miss out on giving back to others.  Just like others offer an advantage to you, you offer an advantage to others.  It’s amazing what two or more like-minded people can create, and what they can offer each other in terms of growth, friendship, and camaraderie.  

Yes, it’s important to have your own back and know you can always fall back on you.  It’s essential to know you have that strength.  

It’s equally essential, though, to reach out to others, give to them, and receive from them in return.

Love and light,

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When have you been too independent?  What can you do differently now to give to and receive from others, and keep that flow going?  

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