"You don't have to put up a fight. You don't have to always be right. Let me take some of the punches for you tonight. Listen to me now. I need to let you know. You don't have to go it alone...Sometimes you can't make it on your own." -U2
I was familiar with the saying "it takes a village to raise a child" before having kids, but it wasn't until those early months with my firstborn that I understood what it really meant. I was drowning and without that village, survival felt questionable. A swift cure for any delusions of being perfect or all-knowing is the birth of a child. To say it can be humbling is putting it gently. I needed other women to tell me what to do when my baby screamed all day long. I needed them to laugh with an "I've been there" smile when I talked about all my clothes smelling like regurgitated milk. I needed my mom to go to the store and pick up the handful of prescriptions I was given at the hospital. I needed her hands to hold my baby while I napped. I needed BJ to help me shower because for the first few days, I could barely stand. I needed the dozens of women who brought us dinners...and the girlfriends who brought me lunch. I needed my friends to text me messages of encouragement on the day BJ went back to work and all I could do was cry. I needed people to tell me it was going to get easier, because I couldn't see it. I couldn't see the day he would sleep more than 45 minutes at a time. I couldn't see the moment he'd call me "mama". I couldn't imagine the first time I'd ask him what was wrong and he'd actually tell me. I couldn't see the afternoon I'd pack away his baby clothes and cry as I taped the box shut. They could. And I needed them.
We need people. Even the most introverted among us needs the support, experience, perspective and practical help of other people. Sometimes we forget that though and we tend to act as if we are an island unto ourselves. Maybe we feel ashamed to ask for or accept help. Perhaps we worry about becoming a burden. Or in some cases, maybe we are just too stickin' prideful.
I had lunch with a friend today. She arrived early and caught me off guard as I hung up the phone after a difficult conversation. I debated whether or not to bring it up, and ultimately decided that I needed help seeing it differently. Her experience gives her perspective. That perspective allows her to see things that I simply cannot yet see on my own. That perspective changed everything about my attitude.
Don't make decisions in a vacuum. Be discerning about who gets to speak into your life, but then let those chosen voices love you well. Let them support you. Let them warn you. Let them advise you. Ask for help. And when it's offered, graciously say thank you. Seek perspective from those with more experience. Listen to their stories. Consider their insight.
"Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise." -Proverbs 19:20
"The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice." -Proverbs 12:15
From this place, I am excited to announce a new series of guest posts coming to A Conscious Life. We will have the opportunity to hear from a variety women, men and couples about what they would go back and tell themselves with the perspective they have gained over time. I'm sure we will find ourselves in many of their stories, with their voices echoing our own struggles and doubts. I am also confident that I will be encouraged, challenged and inspired by what they have to say. Hopefully you will too! To be kept up-to-date with the posts as they roll in, follow us via email or like the facebook page. And keep an eye out for an opportunity to submit your own perspective story. More details on that coming soon!