When we are infants, we depend on others for our survival. The only thing we really do on our own is breathe! We depend heavily on others in this stage of our lives.
As we grow up, we begin to rely less on others and learn how to do things for ourselves. This takes time, practice, learning, development, and maturity. We become more independent and let go of the support we once relied on.
This is part of human growth. We have coaches, leaders, mentors and guides to show us the way and help us see what is possible. But there comes a time when we must let go of the support in order to discover our own potential.
Consider the cycle of your life to this point. Was there ever another time when you relied heavily on others like you did when you were a kid? I know I did. There are 2 times that jump to the forefront of my mind of when I needed a crutch to get through some hard times…and yeah…I’m talking both literally and figuratively.
I blew out my knee my senior year of high school and had surgery. I was on crutches for a time both before and after my surgery. The crutches allowed me to function by helping me get from one place to another. The crutches were for short term support. Ironically I quickly learned how the crutches both supported me and limited me. I couldn't walk as easily with them and I couldn't drive. They would rub the skin under my arms raw and I quickly noticed my leg muscles begin to atrophy. Because the crutches were so much support, I actually lost a lot of muscle tone and strength. A crutch in your life can actually become a problem as well. This is why they are meant to be for short term use. Once I had surgery, physical therapy worked with me to “get back on my feet” and find my own strength again until I was able to be on my own. This is a simple example of how a crutch is helpful and harmful. Now let's get more serious....
Nine years ago, when I was at my worst….I was living in my parents house, sleeping on a mattress on the basement floor with my kids in a room upstairs. I was at the lowest point of my life. It was after my brother had passed and my divorce followed 5 months later. I was so lost. I had no direction, no goals, and very little will. I questioned my identity and everything I believed in. I was in shock and survival mode. I recall feeling that “deer in the headlights” look. My heart rate was faster, I was breathing through my mouth all the time, my eyes were wide, I felt the stress and anxiety in my physical body and in my mind. This went on for weeks. There was no calm, no steadiness within me; there was only alert, reaction and confusion. Thankfully I had family and friends who cared for me and provided that crutch and support to keep me going. They carried me through the hardest times of my life as I could barely manage on my own. As I began to make my way and regain my own self determination, I realized it was time to let go of the crutch and find my own way again. I knew my support system would always be there for me if I needed them again. But I realized it was time to take ownership and find my direction once more. I was finding my feet and didn’t need the crutch any longer.
Consider times in your life when "crutches" provided immense support to help you survive. Bless these people and the support right now and offer gratitude for all that it gave you at the time.
And now read on.....
Do you have current crutches you need to ditch?
So the question is…..Do you have crutches you need to let go of to find your own strength again? Who or what is offering you too much support that it is actually keeping you from your own growth and self determination. Are you becoming weaker in some areas of your life because you are not engaging?
You may need to have a tough conversation with yourself; Because throwing out the crutches will actually cause you to engage and do some work. Are ready to do the work? Be honest with yourself about how the crutch is stunting your own growth and empowerment.
Find support and give support where it is needed
Before you wipe out and need a crutch, recognize where you are currently weak or struggling What areas of your life do you need to find support in so that you are healthier? Consider your health, your relationships, your finances, your mental health, your physical body, your spirituality and more!
I want you to live with purpose and on purpose and you won't be able to find that for yourself if you are still using old crutches. Let go of the crutches if you are able. Seek to support others and encourage them. You are capable of so much. I'm cheering you on!
Disclaimer: I am using the crutch analogy as a metaphor and example. I am well aware that some “crutches” and support are necessary lifelong. I use this as an example that will resonate with many. I know that many people need help and support for all of their lives for many different reasons. Use this example to simply take a look at how it may or may not pertain to you. Be blessed.