I often use my writing as a way to let my mind reflect on things in my life. More often than not, writing is where I host mental Jiu Jitsu matches with myself. Here’s an example of one of those grappling matches I’m having with myself right now, wrestling through my own beliefs about my independence and control…

My car has been in the shop for the past week. What started as a quick drop-off has stretched into something longer, and I’ve become increasingly impatient. When I dug a bit into where that impatience was coming from, I realized that at its core it’s tied to my desire for control. Not having my car has taken away my independence. It’s also forced me to embrace two realities…

First, control in life is like a hologram. You can see it, and it may feel real for a moment, but it doesn’t exist. Yes, there are things we do daily to help direct our paths in life – things we control – but the reality is that there will always be things we cannot direct. Instead of trying to grip life so tightly, trying to maintain our fragile sense of control, occasionally we just need to let go and breathe.

The second thing I’ve been grappling with this week is my willingness to ask for help. I hate asking for help. It feels foreign and uncomfortable to me in every way. I am independent at my core, like it’s part of my DNA. DIY is in my nature. Funny enough, I appreciate it when people ask me for help – it probably props up my ego. That said, I resist asking others to help me. I think that somehow bruises my ego in a weird way. 

I had to ask Cristina if I could get a ride somewhere. The simple act of doing that made my entire body tense up. I could physically feel myself change as I prepared to ask for help… My chest tightened a bit, my jaw clenched, and my breathing changed – all because of my paradigms around needing help and its relation to my independence. Keep in mind that this is my wife that I am asking for help. She’s my teammate, partner, and one of my best friends… and yet it was challenging to ask even her for help. 

This actually makes it hard for me to be in relationships… Imagine taking two sticks and leaning them into one another like a tepee. They only hold each other up if they are both leaning inward. They help each other stand up. When you’re me, you tend to lean outward, never asking for help or wanting to rely on anyone for anything. The result? Both sticks fall down. Leaning in is the only way to make things work.

This mental Jiu Jitsu match I’ve found myself in has left me tired, down on the mat, and pinned on my back with my eyes wide open. This isn’t about my car being in the shop or me feeling trapped without my ride. It’s not even about my independence. At the end of the day, it’s about my need for control and my perceptions around asking for help. That’s where the real grappling is going on right now.

I’m writing this with no real answers or solutions to share. My only real hope in sharing this is that someone else reads this, feels normal, and is encouraged to work on themselves like I am right now. That’s what things like this require… some uncomfortable internal work… the kind of work that someone like me is tempted to run the other direction from. Instead, today, I am stepping into the uncomfortable. I hope you find the courage to do that as well.

Get after it.

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