The following article is written by Steve Monko of Harmony Harbor Coaching.
I have spent my whole childhood and adolescence dependent on others for all of the basics of living: food, clothing and shelter. My parents taught me their values of proper etiquette and manners, right from wrong, and how to properly communicate with others of different backgrounds and upbringings. My teachers educated and prepared me for the real world and how to be self-sufficient in my life.
Being supported was a good thing when I was a young kid. While growing up, I always wanted to try new things and felt proud when I was able to learn and implement new ideas. However, in my house, we were encouraged to comply rather than to think on our own. My parents wanted us to “wait” on their guidance, rather than forging ahead and taking a risk, using our own judgment and possibly making a
This attitude, I’m afraid, didn’t instill confidence in me; instead, it created a feeling of self-doubt and dependence. Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents; however, I often wonder what my life would have been like had they had faith in me, instead of putting the brakes on. Their intention was to protect me from failure, but what was the price?
To complicate matters, on my road to independence while in my teens and early 20’s, a couple of key people in my life (my brother and my girlfriend) taught me that it wasn’t safe to trust. Thus, I learned to rely only on myself.
This lesson led me to use willpower to accomplish tasks and GO IT ALONE. I drew the conclusion that people have their own agenda and I couldn’t depend on them. Talk about a quandary! I went from being dependent (perhaps overly so), to being overly independent and not trusting people. As I got into my late 20’s, still living at home, partying in excess, I realized being supported was a drain on the family, and I
needed to grow up and stop living off my parents! My ability to think independently didn’t truly begin until I left my dad’s home. So I moved into an apartment with my sweetheart, Angie, and I began a new chapter of my life.
Angie has always indicated that you can accomplish your goals much more effectively if you have the “support” of a good team, through family, friends, colleagues, and referral network.
The challenge becomes discerning when it’s wise to:
1) Trust myself/take a risk/make a decision/use my instincts; or
2) Ask for help/seek support, knowing I’m in over my head. I know I need the support of a good team to be successful, though determining the difference between my responsibility and the team’s responsibility is not always easy.
On one hand, I learned that asking for help was needy and dependent. On the other hand, I learned that NOT asking for help is foolish when I lack the knowledge of what to do next and the time in which to do it. I still have trouble asking for help to this day. In fact, I cannot even say that I’ve arrived anywhere. I’m still on a journey, learning to become self-confident and believe in myself.
Having said that, I am very grateful for all the support I have received to mold me into the person I am today. On what side of the fence do you fall? Are you overly Dependent on others to make decisions for you and/or support you? OR are you overly Independent, afraid to trust others because they’ll let you down? The choice is yours. If you need help getting clear on where you stand in your life, because you lack direction and accountability.
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