There’s a lot of talk about independence in both the wellness community and society, in general. We encourage people to get themselves straightened out before they try to interact with other people. We think we have to fix, perfect and contort ourselves into some ideal shape before we can have the meaningful connections we want. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard: “You have to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else.”
I’m calling B.S. on this. Right here, right now.
We need each other. We need each other to learn more about others and ourselves. We need to learn what it feels like to have our hearts broken and our souls recharged when in contact with another person. Some of us didn’t grow up in environments that showed us how to deal with life’s little heartbreaks and love stories. So we need to lean on each other to learn. Sometimes we’ll lean to hard and we’ll need to ease up. Other times someone will lean too hard on us and we’ll need to tell them so.
There’s no rule book. Few of us actually know what we’re doing. Most of us are all chasing things that make us feel good and trying to minimize the things that don’t feel great. Some of us are set up in a way that makes this possible. Others are not. This is why we need to lean on and support each other, so that we can level the playing field and give everyone a chance to maximize their joy.
If we’re going to make this world a better, more joyful place to live in (and that should really be something all of us really want), we need to work with each other to make that happen. Don’t get overwhelmed. We can start small. Because the small things add up. Here are a few things you can do right now or this week to start to create change.
Imagine what would happen if everyone who read this, did one or more of these things every day…
Call or walk over instead of sending the email or text: We rely on our devices too much. Plain and simple. At least once per day, call or walk over to the person you need to talk to. Some great ideas can be generated when you actually look another human being in the eyes.
Buy coffee for the person in line behind you: People love this. It’s a great way to brighten someone’s day. And that’s exactly what it will do.
Listen and don’t offer advice: We want to help the people we love. But sometimes, actually most of the time, our friends and family members just want to be heard. The next time someone tells you about something they’re struggling with, see if you can just sit quietly and say, “Thanks for telling me that. It sounds really challenging.”
Put yourself in a vulnerable situation and trust that you’ll be supported: This is such a scary, amazing thing to do. Go to an open mic night or start dancing in public or take up a new hobby and share it with the world. Chances are no one will stop you and you’ll inspire others to do the same.
Do something impulsive and just deal with the consequences: We don’t want to encourage you to do anything dangerous. So maybe you should just, like, book yourself a weekend or week-long yoga retreat! Then once you arrive you can talk face-to-face with your fellow retreat-goers, buy them coffee, listen and do something vulnerable!