Why Life Tested Me in My Strong Places to Make Me Weak
In the last few months I feel like I've experienced a kind of ass-backwards 'rites of passage'. One type of rites of passage is when you've been tested in an area of weakness and through the test you recognize your strength, an initiation of sorts. But in my case, life tested me in my STRONG places in order to make me more weak. Are you wondering how this could be a good thing? I will explain.
Ive had the opposite problem as most people. Many people feel stunted or blocked because of fear or insecurity, needing to stay safe and comfortable. Where as I have an inner voice that tells me I am invincible and that there's nothing that I cannot do and because of that I have developed this superhuman strength, resiliency and competency. This is not because my life has been easy peasy, I’ve been pushed my limits many times in my life and although painfully hard, I've managed to come out triumphant. The problem is, this has resulted in a double edge sword, where extreme self-reliance, independence and competence in has resulted in this over strong individual who no longer knows how to rely or depend on anyone. Some months ago I lamented over how impossible it is to “un-learn” how to be self-sufficient. I even had a therapist tell me that what I needed was a ‘humbling experience’, to which I wholeheartedly agreed! If your life experiences have taught you that you cannot rely on other people and your experiences have led you to becoming stronger and stronger over time, there's no way to backtrack or to suddenly flip on the switch that allows you to feel the need to depend on another. And so I felt that I was at a loss as to how I could possibly get to a place of weakness or as I prefer to call it- vulnerability- that would allow me to lean on someone. I literally didn't know how.
So what happened? What happened was that life got hard. The ‘working as hard as I can but barely keeping my head above the water’ kind of hard. I pride myself in my level of competence and yet the sheer number of jobs I was managing meant that I couldn't do it all well over time. The social isolation had also become intense. Then a series of bad luck events occurred at the same time as my plate being over-full, and the whole situation got the best of me. It was too many challenges converging all at one time. I like to think of myself as someone does not manifest problems or issues for myself, but then I remembered… that I had been almost wishing that I knew what it felt like to need help. So in some cosmic joke kind of way, I had manifested my own ‘rites of passage’ in a sense. I pushed myself to the point of creating my own ‘humbling experience’. Oh joy!
And when it happened, I may have had a few complaints-- but I didn't fall into the “woe is me” attitude, I didn't act like a victim-- instead I investigated how it was possible for me to be creating this kind experience for myself. It was then that I accepted that all of these events we're not happening to punish me, but in fact we're happening in order to restore myself back a healthier equilibrium. I admit it didn't feel that way at first! It felt as though I was being kicked while I was down. But the fact was in a weird way I asked for it! And I came to an understanding of what was happening, one that would be more helpful to me on my path....
What was that understanding? I need help. And I need to be able to ask for what I need. It is a sign of a mature individual to be able to ask for what they need. Ironically, as it turns out… it was the very ickiness of the vulnerability it takes to ASK that stopped me.
So now, rather than going it alone, I've been reaching out, asking for advice and feedback. I've been delegating tasks and asking for others support, (including from my ex, which is a big deal--as I have flashbacks of past experiences such as running out of gas 40 minutes out on the highway—completely uncharacteristic of me— and him being annoyed that I would even ask for him to bring me a gerry can, which he wouldn't!). Even though I like to think I can do it all, Ive been taking huge chunks of things off my plate. And because this is all very new to me I still feel a fair amount of resistance in asking for help. And I recognize that part of that is, that I don't trust that people genuinely want to help (and I never want anyone to act from a sense of obligation-ugh!). So I have another issue to look at around the belief that people generally are looking out for themselves and don't necessarily want to go out of their way to help others. But as long as I have that belief I will keep creating that experience, which Im rather tired of.
So I focus on gratitude… and focus on visualizing and feeeeeling the kind of environment where people readily step up to help and support nourish my goals. And looking beyond that, I will visualize the kind of relationships that are so in tune and supportive that asking will not always be necessary. “Acts of Service” is my primary love language after all… ;-)