The process of life goes something like this: You’re born dependent – you’re taught as a child to become independent – you’re reminded as a teenager to grow up and become interdependent – you live your adult years living both independent and interdependent then in old age you once again become dependent (and may fight it tooth and nail).
It’s…you to me to we to you.
Let me throw in another option. You have a life altering incident in the prime of life. You go from a place of enjoying your independence along with a healthy dose of engagement with others interdependently to a place of total dependence. Now what?
You can’t work, you can’t walk, you can’t get out of bed, you can’t even go to the bathroom without help. You can’t do much of what you did before your “incident” and furthermore you discover this situation isn’t going to end real soon.
You are forced to go from me/we to you overnight.
That was my experience 21 months ago. Having the freedom to choose me and we over you is a privilege I took for granted. I didn’t realized just how blessed I was to have the freedom to walk and run and work and eat and shower and drive and carry the groceries up the stairs.
When you lose control of your ability to be in control, you realize how vulnerable you really are. You realize how much you need other people in your life to make life work.
One thing has became abundantly clear after being forced into the land of you:
You don’t choose you but you can still choose we.
In other words, if you find yourself forced to depend on others because of life’s circumstances (whether it be old age, injury, sickness, or some form of human weakness) make up your mind to choose to give something back.
The alternative to choosing we is bitterness and resentment because of what you’ve lost. We means looking for a way to smile even if it hurts, using your mouth to express gratitude, and cooperating with those trying to help you.
When you give what you have – even when you find yourself totally dependent on others for your daily needs – you are living proof that we is possible even when it may seem like you have very little to give.
Choosing we when forced to depend on others allows you to:
- Learn and grow.
- Deepen friendships with new and old friends alike.
- Find new talents you didn’t know you had to share.
- Build credibility in the “now” and in the future.
- Experience a life with greater meaning and purpose.
So when moving from you to me to we then unexpectedly back to you, embrace your weakness and find a way to give of yourself to those who are stepping up to pick you up and help you on your way.
When have you been forced to depend on others just to manage with life?What does giving yourself to others while in a place of dependence look like for you?