Are you a rock? Are you an island?

May 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

What’s your typical response when dealing with a situation?  Do you clamp down and not let anyone know what’s going on?  Do you think you’re strong enough to weather it all on your own?  Do you feel gratification when you’ve proved to yourself that you can handle anything?  That you don’t actually NEED anyone?  If you answer ‘yes’ to all of the previous questions… well, you and I were so very alike not that long ago.  I had a need to prove to myself that I was strong enough, I was good enough and I could accomplish anything on my own.  I could deal with any situation.  Life couldn’t bring me down.  I was a rock… I was an island.

At some very recent point, I pulled my head out of the sand long enough to realize just what it was I had done.  I took a moment to step back and admire all that I had accomplished.  I’ve done well with my career, live in a decent neighborhood, I’ve dealt with some pretty big life issues and I’m still standing on my own two feet.  And I did it all by myself. The puzzling part was that the rest of the world wasn’t cheering me on when I emerged.  Why weren’t they happy for me?  Why couldn’t they see the struggles I had been through to get where I am?  Why couldn’t they understand the reasons I had been working so hard for so long?

Because I was a rock and I was an island.  Tough to the core.  Unwavering.  But here’s the thing: Rocks are hard to work with and islands are difficult to get go.

Nobody was cheering me on because none of them knew what was going on. My self importance, my need to prove something to myself had a much larger impact than I could have foreseen. And it’s an impact that I want to reverse.

I’m still proud of myself for my accomplishments, but I wonder how much easier everything could have been if I had taken the approach of a more malleable, connected material?  As I opened up and began to share more with those that were once close to me, I found something extraordinary happened.  All of those struggles, the trials and tribulations I sought to handle on my own didn’t seem so hard to deal with any more AND there were people applauding me along the way for everything I was trying to do.  

So the questions remains – will I do it differently next time?  You betchya.  Except for me it’s not just about next time, it’s about every time.  One day, one person and one situation at a time to create a new shape for me and a new connection in the world.


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§ One Response to Are you a rock? Are you an island?

  • John Tyler says:

    I did answer ‘yes’ to all those questions. It certainly is a different path to follow, and I have accomplished a lot as well, but it is lonely in the end. When I was going through high school and my post-secondary education I enjoyed handling everything myself. It made it easy to stay focused and concentrate on my studies. Not a lot of external distractions.

    Now that I’ve started my career and getting settled in, I certainly want to change things around as well. With the creation of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook it has become a lot easier for me to establish my networks and try and open up and connect with people. The frustrating part with my job has been my recent schedule. It’s been so all over the place, nights, afternoons, short changes, 1 day weekends, that I’m not making much progress, but my patience always wins out. Since I can’t make many changes in my job yet, I have to appreciate that I do have such a great job that I enjoy, and soon my seniority will allow me to choose the jobs and schedule that works best for me. Meanwhile I must keep working at reserving some of my free time to spend with my friends.

    Cheering for you all the way, Wendy! 🙂

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