Self Reliance

Living on my own for the last few years, I have learned to do the best I can to take care of stuff around the house with some help from books like this one: Dare to Repair

I am not the handiest person on the planet. In fact, the exact opposite is true…evidenced recently by my decision to use mounting tape to fix one of my kitchen drawers. Just so you know, I tried to use my Dare to Repair book – and some actual tools…but I resorted to mounting tape and took the easy way out. Who else besides me (and now all of you) will know what is actually holding that drawer together anyway?

My simple approach is to fix the things I can, outsource what I can afford, and ask for help when I need it. Sometimes I take shortcuts if the stakes aren’t too high. No big deal if my kitchen drawer comes apart again – but I would definitely call for help if my dishwasher caught fire (this has actually happened). If you get invited to my house for dinner, you may be asked to help me hang a picture, move some furniture or fix a drawer – but chances are you will be well fed, and I will always have some great red wine for you. And for simple situations when no help is available, I can always grab the mounting tape, duct tape…super glue…whatever works!

When it comes to taking care of me, it’s a little (make that a lot) more complicated. I had some lessons to learn and bad habits to break. Who knew that inner peace is exactly that – peace that comes from within? Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. This is not a job that we can outsource for someone else to fix. We can hire someone to help us – a coach, therapist, or enlist a life partner, mentor or friend to aid, but let me be very clear – the hard work is up each one of us as individuals.

As Emerson said so wisely in his essay Self Reliance,

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance and Other Essays

Self reliance isn’t just about survival. Self reliance is depending on ourselves to be whole, happy, and authentic from within, rather than relying on others to “complete” us. This finally explains why I always hated the movie Jerry McGuire. Everyone else cried in the theatre when Tom Cruise (Jerry) tells Renee Zellweger (Dorothy): “you complete me.” I, on the other hand, kind of hated Jerry and Dorothy without really understanding why.

Working with my coach over the last few years, I came to realize that I alone am responsible for my well being, which includes my inner peace and happiness in both my personal and professional life. This did not happen overnight. And just because I am more aware doesn’t mean that I have all of the answers.  Did I just admit to the world that I don’t have the answers?? My hands are almost too clenched to even type this – that is how hard it is for me, the former Queen of Problem Solving and Always Right.

This is a continuous journey full of challenges, setbacks, highs and lows. I am practicing asking people to fix my things – but not me. Chris Martin – you can go and fix Gwyneth if you really want to, but it’s my job to fix myself.

2 thoughts on “Self Reliance

  1. Laurie-I admire your courage and with full, deep admiration and appreciation for your whole self, I am crazy proud of you!!

  2. Oh, aren’t we all so good at managing the details of day to day life that we don’t stop to look inside of ourselves and take care of us.

    Thanks for sharing your insights. By the way, when’s dinner? I’ll bring the hammer and nails!

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