There is a kind of person who wants to tackle their own things themselves. The kind of person who will lay themselves prostrate in front of their friends to help them step forward on softer ground but are driven to ‘heal’ their own hurts alone. Because somehow doing it alone will earn them a sense of identity and certainty. They are called stoic and strong and for decades we have quietly questioned or admired their mental tenacity.
And yet these are likely to be some of the people who also crave compliments for all they do. They ask for recognition of how hard they work, what they’ve accomplished. They shine as positivity and praise is heaped upon their head. They manipulate conversation to bring their endeavours under the spotlight to earn more accolades. Perhaps because they crave the very connection from which they hold themselves aloof in times of need. They define themselves in times of pressure and therefore, in the freedom of day to day lives, need to grasp at bonds, affirmations with others.
By prising themselves from support and insight when the chips are down, they refuse the most loving of connections from those around them. By setting hard and fast parameters and rules around their own advancement through crisis, they limit the necessary expansion through which progress can be made. It can still happen, yet slower. And there is a perception that working alone will somehow garner more acknowledgement and approval and admiration. But it won’t in the long run.
I used to want to fight all battles, shadows, and scars alone. I thought that it was the most effective, efficient and safe way. And I would hanker after shows of appreciation in any other realm of my life to fill that hole. But limiting wrangling of the soul to internal dialogue only means you can only see as far as the fortress walls you build behind which you cower from other people’s help. You can’t see where you can get to, nor what is waiting to take you to the next level. A year ago, I made a decision to really lean into people helping me, nudging along bits I couldn’t see but could feel. A year ago I realised that, assistance or no assistance, it was still going to be me that achieved the results. And that those who loved me would see me for my growth regardless of the path.
I’ve stopped counting what I do or don’t do of a day. I’ve (tried to) stop(ped) courting compliments, no matter how compelling it can be on occasion. Because now I need to less. I’ve more inherent faith that I deliver something every day that helps me or someone around me. I’ve an inherent sense of who I am and where I’m heading and I am proud of that, in myself, for myself. And I trust that those who love me see it as clearly as I do and walk alongside me, cheering as I go.
It’s a lighter way to spend the days, less like a spinning top and more as I imagined life could be. I’ve learnt that to wish to be seen, you have to see yourself first. And like what you see, deliciously imperfect and full of ever increasing potential. You have to love yourself enough to take that next step, the one that you’re scared to take but holds the most light. You have to let go of the sense of ‘should’s and get on with making each day count.