Sometimes in this society it feels like we have to go it alone. Being strong and working beyond our means is a status symbol for so many people. We wear tiredness as a badge of honor. We have lost the inherent value of actual human contact and interaction. We have become numb to behavior that hurts us, others close to us, others around the world, and the world itself in the name of “this is how it is” and “what can I do?” The single biggest crusher of creativity is the idea of, “we have always done it this way” and the second is, “It’s not my problem,” followed by, “it’s been done before/someone can do it better.” That way of thinking is incredibly stifling and limiting to creativity as well as to needed progress. When we look at the course of human history, the ones who came up with revolutionary ideas like hand sanitation, or refrigeration, or even the internet, the ones who suggested those ideas were mocked and ostracized until people learned to see the value in them.
Having said that, we have fostered an environment of disconnected, disjointed, and dysfunctional communication. We are living in a cloudy grey area of wanting to move forward dusted over with fear and uncertainty. All of the innovators mentioned above also lived in that state—and they pushed through. In order for us to create something different, we have to take the leap. We have to forgo the fear and learn to adjust as things come our way. We are the remnants of the perfectionist era where there was an answer for everything. As we move forward, we are seeing the flaws in that time period and seeing the ramifications of the perfection illusion we created. We are left with deficits that need to be fixed and people who can’t make it on the standards we still adhere to in spite of remarkable changes in our circumstances. There is a middle ground. As we are in this time of moving forward while still trapped in archaic ideas, we have to find a way that actually works. There is not one answer to this problem—and it will require work in a different dynamic.
The point is that all of this starts with relationships, including our relationships to ourselves. We are under the impression that we need to be a certain way to be considered worthy. We believe that we have to be perceived a certain way in order to get the things we want. We fear that letting our real selves be seen will lead us to isolation. What we don’t realize is that we are already isolated. We are already cut off from what will give us real fulfillment—purpose and connection.
More people are becoming comfortable with letting their masks drop because the weight of shielding ourselves is too much. So they drop the armor. The bottom line is that even if you’re really good at playing the game and fitting in, it’s not real. There is a peace that comes from being vulnerable and sharing who we are amongst people who understand and support us that we will never get from faking it to rub elbows at the top. The first step aside from knowing it is too much to carry is to know that you don’t need to carry anything alone. Find the right people and find the right direction and it all changes. We can’t change the world over night but as we continue to shine light on those who are willing to be seen in their authentic vulnerability, I think more and more people will see the value in that.
Don’t ever feel like you need to carry the weight alone, even if it seems to those on the outside that you’re carrying it well and are capable. Just because you are capable doesn’t mean you don’t need help. I spent a lot of years going it alone, even in my closest relationships. The people I truly needed help from never once looked up or thought to ask because they thought I was just fine. They’d offer help with the most banal of things and I’d get frustrated because that was not what I asked for help with. If these are people who are supposed to be helping then why weren’t they helping where I actually needed it? I started feeling resentful because it became about misconstruing my behavior as someone who needed to control everything. That wasn’t the case. You offered your help, I told you where it was needed and you made the decision that I needed it elsewhere. Not your call.
I guess the last point in all of this is to find the right support system. From the example above, this is a circumstance that you don’t need to participate in. It’s gaslighting and you need to be around people who support you-not manipulate you. You’re not crazy for feeling the way you do and if people can’t be bothered to truly hear you and respond to your needs, they aren’t for you.