It’s easy to find yourself stuck between helping someone and fixing things for them.
When you help you teach and offer tools giving the other person a chance to grow, develop and learn to do things for themselves. When you fix things for people they’re likely to become reliant on others to do things for them because that is all they know.
Often when we see people we care about face challenging situations we lend a hand. You think you’re helping but what you’re really doing is fixing the problem for them. And so as time passes and the person faces more challenges they don’t know how to do things for themselves because they haven’t learnt how to overcome.
We do it because we care and we don’t want to see the people we care for suffer. But in doing so we forget that these people have strengths within themselves and that they are also capable of overcoming their own challenges.
And so the lesson lies in finding the balance between helping and fixing. I’ve learnt that support plays a significant and often overlooked role. To look the person you love in the eye and simply say ‘I’m here for you and I’ll support you through this’ may be more powerful and have longer lasting effects than fixing things for them.
‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’
Sometimes I find myself caught up in trying to be a blogger instead of simply just being myself. And in the process I find myself being drawn to creating content that I don’t love as much as I could.
When I first started blogging 8 years ago I was just sharing stuff that I was interested in which mostly included fashion and personal style. But over time instead of following my own flow of creativity I started trying to be a blogger. I ended up falling out of love with creating stuff to share online because I’d sacrificed my sense of self in order to try and fit it and do things ‘the right way’.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I lost my creativity. Not to the extent that I was unable to create because I haven’t really stopped blogging since I started. However, what my content lacked was passion, consistency and quality.
For the past few years I’ve ticked along in the lifestyle blogging space not improving, sharing, connecting, experimenting or expanding as much as I could have.
But starting this blog almost a year ago (can you believe it!) helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. Despite not having designed a fancy header or logo and the fact that this site contains no pictures, I feel more creative here than I’ve felt on wordsbygemm for the majority of the year.
On The Daily Gemm, I don’t get to hide behind content that has been done 101 timed before. As a result I’ve made up characters like Betty and Debbies brother, I’ve explored my feelings, wrote about my work life, shared my experiences with having anxiety, shared things that I’ve learnt and even written about current events like fires, abortion laws and politics.
The year is not over yet but I’m proud of all that I’ve managed to share so far and thankful to you for reading.
This isn’t about a movement for equality, it’s something personal.
Liberation is a beautiful thing.
I recently realised that I’m experiencing a period of liberation in my life and it feels amazing.
The best part is I liberated myself. It wasn’t from any single action but instead a collection of things like daily gratitude, monthly morning manifestos, having open conversations about how I feel and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
The liberation has only just begun but so far it has shown up as me just being myself. In the past, I’ve had a lot of situations where the worry and fear overpowered my ability to do the things I wanted to do and so I would hold back.
The art of being yourself should be like free flowing water, it doesn’t require worry, going back and forth until you’re mentally exhausted and leaving situations wishing that you’d allowed yourself to be seen.
I feel as though I am entering a new stage in my life which is quite fitting as 2019 is coming to a close and the new decade is on the horizon.
I’m sharing this major growth point in my life with you because it is exactly what this blog is about. You have the opportunity to overcome the challenges you face and explore the joy of life.
There’s a story I’ve heard countless times as a kid called we’re going on a bear hunt.
The story follows a family going on a bear hunt and on their way they encounter grass, water and mud etc. All followed by the famous lines:
We can’t go under it
We can’t go over it
Oh no we’ll have to go through it
I don’t remember how the story ended but I can’t help but feel as though the story was a metaphor for life.
And so the moral is that you can’t bypass stuff. You have to go through it to get past it, even when it’s difficult.
Because if you make peace with the worst possible outcome, it can only go up from there.
If you’re afraid to do something because of how it will turn out you’re probably not going to do it. But by figuring out what exactly you’re afraid of it might help you overcome it.
That’s because once you learn to embrace the worst case scenario you realise that it’s not the end of the world.
When you accept that things going wrong won’t bring the world down, that unless you’re dead (yes I had to take it there), there’s room for you to bounceback, well the fear kinda dissipates.
And as much you might feel fear, most of what you’re afraid of isn’t ever life and death risky.
So, learn to embrace the fear instead.
It’s easier said than done.
We grow up having people tell us to be more or less of ourselves.
And for many at a young age you follow the words of those older than you. That’s fine when it comes to things like eating a balanced diet, doing your homework and being kind to people.
But on the flip-side when you’re being told to what career path to pursue or who you should be, I think that’s a problem.
How are you ever going to figure out who you are and be yourself if you’re always listening to other people? Sure this person might mean well and think they’re being helpful but they could also be projecting.
You’ll get told not to pursue something creative because it’s risky, to get a job in a particular sector because it’s more stable, to dress in differently… the list goes on. But often this advice has nothing to do with your happiness or life goals, it’s about conformity, a lack of belief, other peoples discomfort or even control.
And if you listen to all these voices and follow along with what you’re told you slowly start being less and less yourself and therefore less happy.
It’s not much fun living your life as an actor and allowing everyone else to direct.
And so in order to ‘simply’ be yourself you have to let go of all that stuff and be okay with other people being frustrated that you won’t do what they say.
In exchange for that, you get to be you.
If you take the time to read (or listen enough you’ll find that science (or philosophy or spirituality or whatever floats your boat) can explain everything.
And once you know there’s a reason behind something, especially if it’s difficult or challenging it might help you overcome it.
It turns out that the secrets of who we are and how we feel aren’t that that rare. You’re not the only one who… [insert thing here].
You might think you are because you’ve never spoken about it, because you don’t know anyone that’s spoken about it or maybe you feel so dreadful about it that you can’t imagine anyone else has to deal with this ‘thing’ and life too.
I’ve had many challenges that felt pretty overwhelming at times and then came Godin, Sinek, Dweck, Eagleman and podcasts.
After a while I began to understand that maybe this stuff wasn’t ‘the end of the world’ but instead part of it and it didn’t have to stay with me forever.
And of course writing has helped immensely because that’s the power of telling stories of life.