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Finding Independence Through Community

We’ve all been there, especially as we were growing up. Some teens, adults, or in betweens, may be reading this right now and be there now. Finding independence. Finding your own identity, a sense of belonging, or even your way. Dependence is a dangerous thing. Sure as parents we want to allow our children some freedom, yet there are risks. And as adults we want to branch out, try new things, but again there are risks. So we shrink back into our comfort zones not wanting to suffer any consequences or make mistakes. BUT THAT IS NOT SELF GROWTH! That is not independence. That is depending on all the things that make life easier right?! It’s easier to just not work out. It’s easier to not join that group. It’s easier to not have to drive them to practice every day, or that art class, or to fight with them when they are making a fuss or want to hang out with that toxic person, or to work at a lower level than I’m capable of.

We hit the easy button way too often. Laugh it off, say we will get back on track the next day...but the next day turns into a month, which turns into a year and before we know it we are so far down the hole it seems impossible to make a change.

WE KNOW, that if we do not change something, nothing will change.

And yet, we stay there instead of finding our fight. We don’t try new things, new groups and we find ourselves saying “Why bother?” But that “Why” is key. Why for you may mean something different for me. But the Why is a significant part of really finding you! The why also shouldn’t be ALL about you. It should be about inspiring others. Your kids, your neighbors, your spouse. You have gifts and talents that you may or may not know of. You could be helping others. No you don’t need a speciality to make a positive impact on someone's life, lending an ear or helping hand could be enough. Taking that first step to join that group may encourage someone else to as well. Being part of an engaging community gives us a sense of belonging. It enables us to share personal relatedness and support perpetual growth of each other, ourselves and our environment.

So how does one go about “finding their fight.” Or their community?

  1. First of all, one needs to realize that no matter how perfectly you try to execute life (races, challenges) , there will be setbacks.

  2. Before you ask others, create two lists of your own. 1 with your strengths and 1 with your weaknesses. Hint: Don’t just focus on the weaknesses! It’s not cockiness to jot down the things you are proud of, but it can create confidence (Try some of these questions to best help you discover your strengths if they don’t pop out at you:

    1. What am I good at?

    2. What have others complimented me about?

    3. What have others had to help me with on more than one occasion?

    4. Which projects and tasks seem to drain my energy?

    5. Which projects have I spent hours on without getting tired?

    6. What are my hobbies, and why do I like doing them?

  3. Then reach out. Don’t go to that friend you know who always puts you down, or has something to say about the “so and so’s”... go to a trusted, reliable friend who will give you the honest truth (so this excludes your grandma too because she is probably too sweet to tell you how it really is...well, unless you are my grandma :) Love you grandma!). Compare lists!

  4. Try some new and old things! Take notes on what you like, dislike, if you like it because you are good at it. If you don’t because you aren’t, etc… Here are just a few!

    1. Fishing

    2. Skating

    3. Ceramics Class

    4. Sewing

    5. Yoga

    6. 5k

    7. Rugged Running’s Crafty Kitchen cook class :)

  5. Now let's go a little deeper. Find your “why.” Why would you want to do this or that? Or why would you not want to do anything at all? Growing as a person can be nerve wracking, exciting, emotional all at the same time!

  6. Ever heard of “do something that scares you..” yeah you should!!! Getting outside of your comfort zone is where personal growth happens! It is not failing if you don’t try.. If you try you are already accomplishing something! So what scares you? Is it something like taking the leap to do that marathon? Or even just picking up the phone to call an old friend? All of this is growth.. Some are simple and take little time, money and effort and others are bigger that will be a bit more demanding.

  7. Sit yourself down and consider taking small steps to address your weaknesses. And combine those with your strengths to take those larger steps to goals YOU CAN accomplish.

  8. Finally, Don’t forget that Insecurity can kill your confidence. You need to work on your mental game too. Some simple homework to do this is first to identify lies with truth/facts. “Well my dad was that way so that is just how I am too. It runs in the family.” or “My mom was never that smart or educated so that’s where I get it from.” That would be BS! Aka not true!!! Even gene expression can be altered people! So now that you are weeding out the negatives and writing those down, counter them with truth! “ I won’t ever be that fast.” / “yes I can be if I train correctly, consider a holistic approach and stay consistent!”

  9. Join a community! You won’t know unless you try and it’s okay if you feel you aren’t a good fit. Most people join a few of them at one time to see which one is best for them.

  10. Volunteer. Don’t know where to start. Try volunteering. It’s a rewarding experience to give back and be a part of something that helps your community!

So get out there and FIND YOUR FIGHT!!! You owe it to yourself.. Your family and friends… “Give the world the best of you not what is left of you.”

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