As a general rule, we try to externalize happiness. This is nothing new. We’re raised as children to look for answers from the adults around us, and the world can easily start to seem like a series of events that happen to us rather than lives that we are consciously choosing, day by day, choice by choice.
The challenge then becomes that many of us will spend a lifetime looking “out there” for answers, and without even realizing it, a side effect of this becomes a desire to have hand-holding all along the way.
Trained to give away power
The need (read: dependency, not the natural human desire to be interconnected) for hand-holding trains us to give away our power.
We stop seeing ourselves as the agents of our lives, capable of making powerful choices within every situation, and instead start seeing the external as punishment/reward. We keep looking for hand-holding in all of its manifestations: That right e-course that will “show us the way,” that right therapist or coach, that right book. You can hear this voice most clearly when someone says, “I always quit e-courses,” or “Oh, I’ve tried therapy and it didn’t work.”
I submit to you, baldly yet with love: Nothing works unless we choose to make it work–in the form of trying on a new perspective with an open heart, to see what is a match for us.
The e-course, the therapist, the book–in terms of your personal power, your divine essence–they are irrelevant.
The same “amazing e-course” for one person is ho-hum for another. In hand-holding mode, the person who experienced it as ho-hum will sit back, do nothing to make the experience better, and then blame the e-course leader or the content or the other participants. –Or they’ll abruptly cancel sessions with a therapist or coach and switch to another without offering the first person an explanation. –Or they’ll simply stop reading the book that they had bought with such high hopes.
In divinely owning your power mode, the person will recognize the pieces that aren’t a match, speak up to see if adjustments can be made, and put the focus on themselves, doing whatever they can to make it a powerful experience.
Feeling like there’s not enough participation in the e-course? Ask: how much are you participating? Lessons moving along too fast? Ask: are you giving yourself permission to take things slowly, or blaming the pacing on the leader? Therapist talking about things that you don’t feel relevant to your life? Ask: Is it possible that I’m Resistant? Am I sharing with this therapist what would, in fact, feel relevant? Book no longer feeling like it’s a match? Ask: What is its central message? Am I Resistant? How can I create this more powerfully–will I choose to take anything away from this?
The goal, if there is one beyond simply BEing your journey, is not to finish everything that you start. The goal is to see what energy you’re putting behind it: where might you want someone or something outside of you to “make it better”?
And on the flip-side, when experiences are good, do you externalize by making the e-course leader, the therapist, or the book into “the thing” that’s responsible for your internal shift, rather than your choice to try out their perspective and then uniquely apply it to your life? There are two sides to this coin. Neither are powerful.
The role of collaboration
Without a doubt, collaboration is a sacred act. We all need the support of others along the way.
But without some attention, most of us are still looking around for our parents’ hands, wanting someone or something to make it easier to step onto the escalator of life, and then giving them the credit when things work out, or foisting onto them the blame when things are not to our satisfaction.
In reality, we make choices. We do the work of courageously stepping into that which we fear. We choose to save the money to go on the retreat, or to make the time for creating stillness in our lives, to speak up when it’s hard, to participate even if you’re risking being seen, to initiate a new friendship. We might tell ourselves that someone else’s inspiring ideas or personality is what made it possible, but we’re giving ourselves (and then) short shrift.
Hand-holding can only get you so far. See what happens when you let go, and take a few steps fully embodied in you, your life, your choices. Like the feeling of a bracing wind, the experience can be enlivening–the wild animal of you, open, ready, beautiful in your vulnerability and courage, living 100% fully alive.