Sometimes you’re pulled along. Sometimes you’re the puller.
Earlier this week I went for my weekly Monday night run with my spotty little friend (Nico). Nico is a 1year old Dalmatian and generally speaking, just bursting with energy. I bought him as an insurance policy for my cardiovascular health – so that I would be forced to endure utter chaos at home, or run his energy off him. To be fair we’re probably somewhere in the middle and I’m not convinced that the exasperation from finding the latest thing he’s chewed to pieces offsets the heart benefits of regular exercise. But we’ll roll with it. Maybe in time he’ll teach me patience as well.
Anyway we were out running in the dark, in the wind and the torrential rain in Holdsworth forest park and I found myself musing about how sometimes in life we’re having to pull others along – sometimes it’s those who stop to catch a breath, or to marvel at the most interesting sensory experience (in Nico’s case probably the faint scent of another animal). Either way, I found myself wondering who’s perspective was more healthy – his of constant exploration, or mine of slow and steady constant movement in a particular direction? Jury’s out I think!
And then going up the hill I found myself in role reversal – not pulling him along, but being pulled. More than once way off the trail (the lesson is that even when it’s pelting with rain, it’s important to look up and check that you’re on the right course from time to time!). And again I found myself wondering about the consistency between that experience and normal life. It’s true that sometimes we pull others along with our momentum. At other times we’re pulled along by them. I think that’s probably a fundamentally healthy perspective.
To take it a step further, I wonder if we’re self aware enough to hold some space around Shakespeare’s words:
“to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man”
If we’re honest with ourselves then there’s probably times when not only are we pulled along by others but where we’d do well to ask to be pulled along. But it’s a hard thing asking for help. Especially in our culture which lifts up the self-made individual and in doing so, subtly implies that the co-dependants are somehow lesser mortals. Broken and in need of repair. But I meet such people every day. That’s my job!
But while we’re being honest, I’m all too aware of my own frailty at times. The truth is, there’s no such thing as self-made. We’re all co-dependant to a certain extent. Sometimes you pull me along. And other times I’ll pull you. Not because of our position. Not because of control. Not because we’re broken (though perhaps temporarily slowed down). Not for any reason, but because we’re strongest when we work together to achieve our overall direction. Because that’s what it is to be human. To work in cooperation with others. This is what makes a healthy relationship – with a health professional, or anyone else.
Here’s to pulling and being pulled! And my spotty teacher. I’ll get him a bone to say thanks. If you need pulling in any particular direction – Please ask us, we’re only too happy, to help.