We hear it all the time, “You can’t do this alone”. Some people think they can do whatever they’re trying to do alone, but really in the end we all need someone. Even if you work for yourself, you still need clients, or customers, or someone who needs your services in some way. We’ve all heard the saying, “No man is an island unto himself”. It’s true, and I keep learning that it’s true in so many different aspects of life.
There are times that I just want to do things by myself. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I like some things a certain way. I like the dishes in my kitchen exactly where I have them. When someone else puts the dishes away, I try to appreciate their help, but most of the time I end up rearranging them. I also like having my time in the mornings to myself. I don’t always get that time, but I like it when I do.
One thing that I really don’t like doing alone is exercising. I would rather have someone to work out with who is pushing me to my limit, encouraging me to do one more, and just knowing there’s someone else that wants the same things as me. Some things I’d rather do alone in a way, because I’m embarrassed to admit I can do so few push ups or planks, but I think we grow more when we have someone working with us.
Often when we fall into bad habits it is because we are alone. We get discouraged and think we can’t keep up with someone else, or we run up on an obstacle that we think is too big to overcome. We forget that we need people to help us overcome obstacles sometimes and we need to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us to keep up.
Last summer, my husband and I had started mountain biking together and I ended up getting discouraged. It was something he wanted us to do together and at first I really enjoyed it. The only problem was that I had a terrible seat and I didn’t realize that you aren’t supposed to sit while going through all those bumps. I ended up with a bruised tailbone and really didn’t even want to go again. Eventually, after the pain went away, I got a better seat and tried again. There was a group of guys that were all going the day we went and I felt very intimidated. I didn’t want to ride with a bunch of guys, because I knew they were all more experienced than I was and they would be faster. I also knew at least a few of them, including my husband, would feel like they had to stop and wait for me to catch up. My perfectionist attitude has kept me from enjoying a lot of things in life. If I can’t do it as well as everyone else, regardless of their level of experience I believe I have two options: work harder than anyone else to achieve more faster or quit. That day I chose to quit.
One thing I have learned since that day on the bike course is that I need people in my life. Sometimes I need them to wait for me to catch up so I’m not alone, sometimes I need to wait for someone else to catch up so they are not alone. Most of my life I have believed I had to do everything myself and do it better than anyone else. Today I believe that I just need to do my best, whatever that is and accept that the experience will come. I also believe that I need to learn to enjoy what I’m doing instead of turning it into a competition, or making it seem like other people are annoyed with my lack of progress.
My husband wasn’t frustrated by me being slower than him, he was just happy to be out there. The other guys that stopped and waited were not frustrate either, they were happy to be an encouragement to a new rider. It was my perspective on how I thought I should be doing that kept me from enjoying the moment.
We all need someone to be an encouragement to us and we all need to be an encouragement to someone else. We all have different gifts and we are all at different places on our journey. Let’s all accept each other where we are and give a helping hand when we’re the one’s that are a little higher on the climb.