it depends

Independence; self sufficiency, self supporting, to be able to stand on one’s own two feet, to be free from outside influence, authority or direction.

We’ve learned to wear independence as a badge of pride and honour; it is an accomplishment to be recognized. The notion shouldn’t come as surprise; we commemorate an infant’s first steps, congratulate an adolescent’s passed driver’s test and celebrate a young adult’s move from home out into the world. We applaud these milestones in life and mark them as graduations toward independence.

We have little choice but to learn that doing things on our own is what makes us whole, that it is what propagates our autonomy as the individuals we choose to be. There is your path to follow; the one you pave for yourself. And, while this is very true, while it is integral to the evolution and growth of who you are, the perceived freedom of independence sits atop a very precarious perch.

We learn, some of us quicker than others, that reliance upon ourselves is the safest. We learn that all we choose to carry upon our shoulders and that which falls to the ground when the weight becomes to heavy to manage, comes at our own reward and peril; at our own achievement and blame. We believe, falsely, that we really don’t need anyone’s help. If it goes right, I’ll have myself to thank. If it doesn’t, I’ll have no one to blame but me.

The freedom of independence can imprison us. It can hold our perceptions hostage. There are many reasons I can hypothesize as to why we struggle with asking for help – embarrassment, shame, release of control, fear, pride, past experience, self confidence. But, I am more concerned with why we should ask for help, why we should be dependent.

We are meant for community. We are meant to rely on and to be relied upon. We are meant for meaning. Independence, I’ll estimate, is somewhat of a selfish precept. The decision to act as though in a silo of one’s own personal world steals the opportunity for meaning from others – from the people close to us, the people that care about us, the people we Love. We believe that tending to our adversities on our own, may make things tougher on us, but easier on those around us. A logical, but counterintuitive, premise. Those closest to us see our struggles, they feel our struggles. They want our struggles to be their struggles; shared. There is strength in togetherness regardless of the outcome of what is afoot.

We are easy to forget that we wish to give ourselves to the people we Love when they are in need, yet, when we are in the same need, we choose to isolate ourselves. Challenges in life present meaning. They present opportunity for giving of the true self, the part that comes from compassion, empathy, caring and Love. Sometimes, we have to show up for ourselves by asking someone else to show up for us. Give someone the opportunity to create meaning in their life by asking for help, by asking for someone to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, or just for that shoulder to cry upon.

Strength is built from adversity. Greater strength still, when we choose to not stand alone amidst that adversity. That is how Love is grown, with opportunity to exercise it. Love is grown with the intention of the Heart – when we allow it to be practiced on us. Self-Love is allowed in when we open that part of ourselves that knows we need more than just us.

Love is not what you can do for me, it’s what can I do for you. It is the moments we invite Love to be given to us. And, it’s ok to ask for it.

Be Love.

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