If you are like me, raised in the Midwest, you may have also been inundated with the subtle – not so subtle- messaging of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. I must have been paying attention as I began working at a young age, earned my own money, bought my own clothes, ran my own business by age 12, and grew quickly to be very self sufficient.
I was an A student when it came to adhering to this message.
I came into adulthood with this message, and with the continued mindset that "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" meant not needing anyone for anything. While those life skills and attitudes initially served me well as an adult, especially later as a single parent and business owner, I ultimately discovered that this mantra did not serve me well in my adult relationships in the long run.
Good relationships require vulnerability and vulnerability requires the ability to know when we need to ask for help- whether the help is related to assistance with a physical task, or whether the help is asking for emotional support and encouragement.
Hence, it took me a long time to not only realize I need the support of others- safe people- but also to learn to ask for it and have that be okay.
The first time I had to reach out for help from a friend was in my single mom days. I recognized one day at my son’s soccer practice that I would not be able to transport 3 kids to 3 different places on the same day and time. It felt daunting to reach out and ask a friend for help. Her response was gracious and kind which helped but it still felt like someone had just lobbed off my right arm; it shook me and and my perceived sense of “I can do it all”.
It took even longer to realize that to be healthier mentally and emotionally, and not overly self sufficient meant leaning into a community. While we can increase our capacity for caring, compassion and serving in a one -on -one relationship, the benefits of having a support system and larger community from which to draw support, new ideas, creative solutions to common problems, and sharing resources can make life so much more beautiful, less stressful and more joyful when we are willing to engage with a community in these ways.
Whether you own a business or are a member of the Kitsap community, it is important to remember there is a rich resource of people who can enhance your friendships, business, health and life - if only we are willing to reach out and make the time to connect.
We are all created to need one another. While the old messaging I got came from a good heart, it was inherently flawed. We are hard wired for relationship and that means community.
Do we need good life skills and a certain amount of know how and “I can do it” attitude? Of course. The trick is to find that sweet spot of knowing when to go it alone, and when it’s time to reach out. Life becomes so much more illuminating, interesting, adventurous and abundant when we tap into the well of connection and community.
It is our hope that this week, you will begin to be curious and reach out to the people and places that can share their wealth of knowledge, wisdom and kindness to enrich your life. It is also important to realize when you invest yourself in others, you have that same opportunity to enrich your own life as you share your time, talent and energy with others.
Here’s some people and places to visit, support, and connect!
20/30 Fast Track
Silverdale Wellness Center
Equilibrium Natural Health
Peninsula Bible Fellowship
A Better Path Coaching
Optimal Wellness Consulting
This week reach out to a Live Well Kitsap business that exists to support your health and wellbeing. That is a great place to start. You have a caring community all over Kitsap county to connect with. Stop by and plug in. We need each other now more than ever!
The richness and fullness of life cannot be accomplished solely on our own. No matter how many bootstraps we pull ourselves up from, we are created to connect and be in relationship with others. Our mental health and emotional wellbeing improve when we surround ourselves with safe and supportive people.