“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” – Unknown
For some it just comes naturally, while for others it requires discipline, commitment to the cause, and hard work. A description that usually depicts the natural talents of a star athlete or an academically strong student, but I am not speaking of either on this occasion. What I am speaking of is the ability, personal choice, strong desire, attitude and character it takes to walk alone at times, especially when it seems less popular or will inevitably impact friendships negatively and other parts of your intimate relationships and life connections in unknown ways.
Even with the potential risks of missing out on something or that someone, usually when we arrive at this juncture in our life journey it is for good reason, even if we do not fully understand the overarching purpose just yet. What we usually are aware of is the deep need to slow down, reconnect with ourselves and refresh our outlook on life, and our place it in. Oftentimes, we simply fail to acknowledge this need lying deep in our souls, or have not learned how our triggers work to give us warning that something is out of balance inside.
What we are usually unaware of is the amount of energy we are exerting to maintain our relationships, careers, current lifestyles, basically what have come to call our normal routine, until we become completely depleted and find ourselves stripped of all passion, competitiveness or desire to engage at the same level that we once had in the past.
So how did we get here? I mean at that place where it seems we are spinning, ineffective, frustrated and easily provoked more often than not? That is indeed the million-dollar question, and for each person there lies a unique answer, but at its core the answers are fairly common. Yet, as we know common sense is not necessarily common, so below is my attempt to list a few things that usually get me off my best course. See what you can relate with and add your own.
1. Doing too much at one time. – We have all been guilty of this. We forget the art of saying “no” to others and take on more than we can handle. At some point soon we recognize our inability to manage all the stuff and something begins to suffer. Unfortunately the one that suffers is usually us, and how we suffer is usually dynamic, meaning it has multiple layers that are not always easily remedied.
2. Failing to ask for support. – I have always taken pride in knowing that I can get things done. Not so I can say I did it alone, but once I make a commitment I try my best to do what I said, but when things start falling a part at the seams I am certainly guilty of becoming a Lone Ranger. Simply asking for help could have made things a lot lighter for me.
3. Not weighing the impact of saying “yes”. In the beginning it all seems fine and manageable, but a few weeks into it, we quickly learn that we are becoming overwhelmed and this added “thing” just does not fit in our lives at all. We have to learn to not quickly agree to anything and see how it will impact our daily routines. Does it work, why or why not?
4. Our inability to see when we are becoming fragmented and frustrated. – The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” can be applied here. Have you learned when it is time to reflect, take a nap or reset or do you just keep going, simply because things are not finished yet? You are certainly headed for a crash if you said yes. The signs are usually everywhere, we just need to become a little more sensitive to them and act accordingly.
So how does this all apply to standing alone? Well perhaps if we can better understand how we arrived at a specific place, we can better plan how not to arrive at that same place the next time, and once we learn the lessons we can spend more energy staying balanced versus getting balanced.
Standing alone can be hours for some and months or years for others. The key is we are actively taking time for ourselves, independent of everyone and anything else. The most important things/people in our lives require that we remain on point and ready at all times. Let’s just make sure that we are first considering “ourselves” in the formula of that importance.
So if you have not done it lately, take a time out for yourself. Breathe in deeply, turn off the television and tune out the noise in your life. Get still, take a walk, get re-acquainted with who you are, enjoy the creation around you, recognize the beauty that exist in your world and your place in that beauty.