All the time, I encounter people who are determined to make their dreams a reality by any means necessary, which is admirable.
Even more often, I encounter people who are determined to make those dreams happen all by themselves, which is understandable.
It feels heroic to say, “Look at what I achieved ALL BY MYSELF!” or if you’re like me you’d say, “Look ma!”
It’s the ultimate story of winning despite the odds.
Or, is it?
Society sells us on the myth of the heroine’s journey. The one where she goes into battle alone, single-handedly defeats the villain, and manages to make all of her dreams come true in one fell swoop.
Cue happily ever after music.
Although I’m not into cliché storylines, and I realize that our lives are more complex and nuanced than ninety minutes of film, there’s something valuable to be gained by looking at our own journey and how it parallels the heroine’s journey.
When we closely analyze the heroine’s journey, we’ll notice that she didn’t actually achieve her mission all by herself. Along her path she had confidantes and met mentors, guides and even oracles who helped and guided her.
This entire community of supporting players all played a vital role in her achieving her hard-won mission and she in theirs.
As we peel back the layers, we also see that what’s truly required of the heroine to achieve her mission wasn’t about being a lone wolf. As a matter of fact, somewhere along her path to achieve her goal she had to ask for and accept help, and oftentimes a lot of it.
The opposite is true for most tragedies, where we meet a fallen heroine who also wants to achieve her mission. However, the key difference is that along the way she rejects help, goes against her soul, and allows the narratives that disempower her (whether it’s something that happened in the past or a way of being/thinking) to take charge and ultimately lead to her demise.
We’re all living our own heroine’s journey — full of heart and with big bold visions and missions but too often we choose to go at it alone. We don’t ask for help, and sometimes we outright dismiss the angels dressed up as human beings who cross our paths.
We do this not because we don’t want to achieve our mission, quite the contrary, we deeply desire it with all of our souls.
Many of us go at it alone because…
- We witnessed our parents and caregivers go at it alone all of their lives, and we were never modeled how to accept and/or reach out for help
- We’re afraid of being hurt and disappointed
- We hope that somehow the pieces will miraculously fall into place if we just keep pushing forward
- We’re afraid of being judged, having regrets and looking stupid
- We unconsciously equate being worthy of our desires with doing it solo, and asking and receiving help with weakness
I can relate to all of these. It’s hard to ask, accept and allow others to help. It takes vulnerability and courage, especially when going at it alone has been so deeply ingrained and is our default way of being.
However, our true nature is to gather in community and allow ourselves to be supported and to support others. We can witness this dynamic in the earliest tribes and in children.
In tribes, in order for tribe members to thrive they had to rely on one another for survival and support.
When we observe children, they’ve somehow mastered the art of asking, and receiving help and also intuitively knowing when it’s time to fly. My son teaches me about this beautiful dance every day.
Whether our mission is to impact the world with our art, create a world that works for all, or serve as guides for people who are now where we once were, we’re all on a heroine’s journey to reclaim our power. Along our journey, we’re asked constantly to choose to either rise or retreat.
The key to rising, is to say yes to the confidantes, mentors, guides (and even oracles, cause you know magic exists) who were directly placed on our paths to help us.
Asking, accepting and allowing our community to support us with graciousness and openness is our gateway to rise. This is how we learn to soar as individuals and as part of the greater human family.
I can attest that it has been the confidantes, mentors, guides, and oracles who I’ve met along my heroine’s journey who’ve helped me rise even when I wanted to retreat. They served as powerful mirrors and champions of my strengths and gifts.They also challenged me to clarify, release and transcend my perceived limitations.
Ultimately, we can choose to go at it alone because it’s how we’ve been programmed and conditioned. Or we can choose to ask, accept and allow our community to help us with gratitude and grace.