People who influence one another: Individualism and Shame.

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christian / encouragement / inspirational / mentalhealth / Uncategorized / wellbeing

Sometimes I read quotes about being empowered as an individual to be confident, to, you know, ‘not need anyone else because I’m gonna be whole on my own damn self’ type thing; who needs anyone else, when I have myself – type of attitude. You know the one? In one part I feel a little inspired by it, but admittedly on the other (larger) part I feel a sting.

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I think it’s because often I pick up this sort of an attitude with a real tenacity, only to crumble a few weeks or days later when I realise I was hurt or frightened by something or someone, or contrarily, I got strengthened or encouraged by a lovely cheerleader friend, teacher or mentor. This attitude, when gone too far, I think carries with it a darker shadow. Shame. It sort of casts a shadow over simply experiencing the nature of the highs and lows of life – one that is not lived in isolation, but in relation to and with.

Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot help but be affected in some way, shape, or form by the many strands of life happenings and changes taking shape around me. This whole being an empowered, confident lone-individual can have a particular initial allure about it, but when met with the reality of both the lows and the  highs – some part of it has consistently proven to me, to be an illusion that brings also a darker shadow of shame. And it’s a insidious kind of shame that taints both the good AND bad relational experiences; it mistakenly encourages us to hide behind a steely armor, because, it’s safer to not be known.

I think that’s why I feel the sting, when I see this mentality pasted across instagram and social media with a stronger than we know, undercurrent. I feel like in some way, it’s forgotten, or even, abandoned our beloved humanness – our need (yes, need) for connection with and to be known by, other people. It fails to recognize that we have an influence upon one another – for better, or for worse. Perhaps it is just me, but never am I in the state I am in entirely because of my own doing. We are not made of concrete. Our souls, I think are in some way, permeable. Other people can water and bring growth to our souls, or they can bring something unsavory to it. Isn’t that both the beauty and the pain of life? Stuff happens; and we, I believe are not indestructible nor completely bullet-proof to the ups and downs of life. We shouldn’t be beating ourselves up when we feel we’re not ‘making it’ on our own, or because we found strength within a beautiful connection with another.

This is what life IS.

Maybe it’s actually ok, to find renewed strength within a relationship with a fellow human, to feel anxious, or to be hurt by a harsh word or treatment. Really, there is no shame in that. Maybe we need to address where we’ve been hurt more, rather than place a ‘I’m fine, I don’t need anyone’ steel-like armor over it. Maybe we need to thank and celebrate the lives we find hope and life within around us, rather than beat ourselves up for, low and behold, needing and appreciating the presence of them.

The Author

28. Counselling + Theology Student + Ponderer + Writer + Do-er of hair.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Anne-Marie,

    Some really interesting reflections here on the ‘I will succeed on my own!’ mentality. It’s almost as if technology has created a thin comfort barrier that means we can keep everyone at a safe distance, get a buzz out of ‘popularity’, but not really address the deeper existential questions that, if we were to explore, might help us deepen and broaden our perspective on life.

    Not sure if I’m talking rubbish or not, but in any case, I enjoyed your piece!

    Cheerio,

    Steven

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