At What Point Are You Too Independent

On my trip to Crested Butte I got stuck on a snowpacked trail. It started out as quite the laugh. “Lemme just dig myself out” I thought. Little did I know the struggles to come…

I dug and dug. I broke out the traction boards. I tried winching. Every attempt made things worse. Every time I pressed my foot on the gas and felt no movement, the smiles and laughs turned more and more into frustration and disappointment.

I was about 10 feet from the pavement. What an embarassment.

I feared someone coming down the trail to see me, stuck in the snow, blocking their way. Being a burdon on myself was enough, I’d hate to be a burdon to someone else.

After an hour of digging, of struggling, I started to question, at what point do I ask for help? At what point can I really not do this myself? I saw a truck down the road turn into a house driveway. What an embarassing thing that’d be, having to knock on someone’s door to ask for help.

I kept trying, dreading that embarassing moment, fearing it. My trying wasn’t working though… That embarassing moment started to feel more and more like a reality.

I could feel the moment, being scolded for getting stuck. Some big burly man laughing at me for getting stuck 10 feet from the pavement.

Frustration and disappointment was settling in. I reached a point where I felt helpless. I felt so vulnerable that asking for help was all I could do.

I hung my head as I walked down the road to the house.

What I found was quite the opposite…

There was no big burly man laughing at me. There was no scolding. They understood, and despite not having much experience helping people get unstuck, they offered to help.

A couple tugs later and they got me out. It felt quite easy, quite trivial.

I tend to be stubborn. I like to do things myself. I don’t like being dependent on others. I don’t like to burdon others.

I had envisioned being an embarassment for getting stuck, being a burdon on someone else for asking for help. Reality was very different. The girls that helped me were incredibly nice.

I feel as though I’ve grown this bitterness towards dependence. I don’t know where this instinctual belief comes from, but it feels like a limiting belief to me. It feels like something I need to overcome. This situation made me realize I can’t make it though life completely by myself. There will inevitably be situations when I need help from others, when I depend on others. I’ve depended on others much of my life.

Maybe the distinction for me comes from the intention. Is this a moment of mutual cooperation? Is this a moment of one-sided benefit, of exploitation? We are natually cooperative people. We group and cooperate, we share and help each other, we’ve done this for centuries, for millenia.

I think what I’ve taken away from this moment is that it’s okay to ask for help, as simple as that might sound. That people are nice and most often people are willing to help. To not get caught up by the minority of negativity.

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