In my younger years, my goal was to be self-reliant, self-sufficient, self-made. Focused mostly on self. I want to be able to accomplish things without relying on anyone. And I was fairly becoming good at it.
The mindset I had was anyone can leave me anytime and I’ll be fine. It seemed like a nice idea at that time. However, this has limited the relationships I had to reach up to surface-level only. I was always on guard. It was very easy for me to cut people off as soon as there’s unpleasantness. There was no chance for relationships to grow.
The older I get though, the more it’s evident that self-sufficiency at a cost of relationships isn’t worth it. Okay, I can manage by myself. Now what? It turns out that dealing, facing, fixing the unpleasantness is a big part of what makes life a more meaningful experience.
The second lie, is that I can make myself happy. That’s the lie of self-sufficiency. As anybody on their deathbed will tell you, the things that make people happy is the deep relationships of life, the losing of self-sufficiency.The lies our culture tells us about what matters — and a better way to live (David Brooks)
I’ve accepted that I can’t do it all. I’ve been learning how to depend on other people. I try to share my problems even if it’s not natural for me to do. I do this to let them know that they’re safe to do the same. That they can depend on me when they need to.
I also actively reach out. I intentionally keep connections open. I show up to their life events. And it’s worth the effort.
I realized that losing of self-sufficiency is actually expanding of self. There are parts of me that shows only when I’m with people I trust and depend on. I did not lose anything. It’s quite the opposite. I gained a better understanding of myself.