This journey of life that we are on, is unique to each person. While we may see similarities, each journey has its own unique set of variables that make it uniquely your own.
With all that uniqueness however, it doesn’t take to long to realize that it takes a community effort to get through life. We need sojourners to come alongside and travel with us.
For instance, my business as a WordPress Website Developer, is a common one. Your sister, uncle, or bestfriend’s brother-in-law may also have the same type of business. But each one of us runs our business, experiences entrepreneurship, and balances life and work differently.
Losing someone you love changes you. My journey through grief and pain is different from yours, but the change we experience through a personal loss helps us understand what someone else is going through during their grieving process.
Your experience as a parent is going to to be different from everyone else’s. Your responsibilities, schedule and your kids personalities are totally different creating a unique dynamic and set of experiences.
Why is it Hard to Ask For or Accept Help?
The older I get the more I realize that it takes a community to get us through life. We are not meant to go it alone, no matter how independent we feel. We are hard-wired for relationships and community but it can be hard to let down the walls, let go of some of our independence and ask for help. OR sometimes even harder, have help offered and have the graciousness to accept.
Why is it easier to be the giver rather than the receiver?
It is a question I have to ask myself. Why when I am willing to help someone else, do I bristle and stiffen my back when the exact same help is offered me?
Is it a sense of vulnerability or feeling weak?
We much prefer to seem strong and able to take care of ourselves. So letting it be known that we need help, makes us feel like we are not “doing it” right, that we are letting someone down, or maybe that we feel we appear incapable. None of which are true of course…
Or is it a comparison trap, where we are own worst critic? We think so and so went through something similar and didn’t need help, why can’t I do this on my own?
It is easy to forget in the moment that our story, our journey, our experiences are different and unique. That uniqueness makes our needs and capacity to handle things different.
We Need Community
I was looking at the Wheel of Life diagram thinking there must be an area where community isn’t needed and I realized that in every aspect of life, at different times, we need more than just ourselves.
- Career: We need business coaches, mentors, clients, employers
- Social: Hard to be social by yourself right?
- Physical: Yes we can walk or hike by ourselves but we need maps, directions, equipment, facilities, motivation, trainers etc.
- Family: Sometimes we need help preserving our sanity in the midst of family 🙂 and at other times we need help taking care of family
- Financial: We need accountability, we need employers or clients to keep generating income
- Personal Development: We need courses, books, podcasts, blog posts to keep us motivated, to teach us, resources to help us reach a new goal
- Spiritual: We need the community of church, wise mentors, pastors, elders, we need God!
So no matter where we look on the wheel of life, there really is no area where we can “lone wolf” it for very long before we run into trouble.
Blessings & Making a Difference
This one I still haven’t fully learned, but the last few years it has become a bit easier to accept. I love helping people, it is one of the reasons I started my business. To be available to those I care about when they need me. It is a blessing to me to walk alongside someone in need and make a difference.
Who am I to deny that for someone else? Is that fair of me?
Try a Different Perspective
This applies to both the giver and the receiver.
The receiver sometimes needs to step back and recognize that we can’t do it all in spite of our best efforts and well thought out plans. That we don’t have to do it all. That we are not weak for needing to ask for help. And importantly we need to be gracious and accept the extended hand.
The giver sometimes needs to accept that fact that right at that moment, things are covered. That even though we really want to help, the person we are wanting to help may not be ready to accept, or even know where they need help at that moment. There are times when the best help we can give is to just let them know we are here and available.
Life is difficult, it is not easy and it can also be beautiful and amazing. Both in the good times and the bad times, we need community.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.