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  • Writer's pictureGail Weiner

Ultra Independence: Solitude to Synergy

As an ultra independent, I've grown accustomed to my solitude. My earliest memory takes me back to my toddler years, confidently walking alone down a hallway without fear or uncertainty. This memory encapsulates the path my life has taken.

For us Ultra Independents, seeking help isn't something that even crosses our minds. We prefer to tackle things on our own, accepting it as the way of life. A few years ago, I was planning a weekend getaway with friends. They suggested leaving just before lunchtime to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic. However, I couldn't comply because I had to pick up my son from school. One of the other women casually remarked, "Can't someone else fetch him?" My immediate response was, "Well, who?"

To her, this concept was difficult to grasp since she isn't ultra independent and has built an organic support system she can rely on whenever needed. While I recognize the value of such a system, I never quite embraced it. Various reasons contribute to this, including past disappointments where people let me down. I have sworn off needing anyone for anything, as those I've let in have taken advantage of my vulnerability. Moreover, I genuinely believe that I should be capable of handling everything on my own, and asking for help is a sign of weakness—an absolute dealbreaker for an Ultra Independent.

Since childhood, I've sought refuge in solitude, whether it was playing alone in my room to escape fights with my sister or my mother's bad moods, reading books in isolation during my teenage years when I faced bullying, navigating life as an only child after my sister's tragic suicide, or taking care of myself during an abusive relationship. Each experience further reduced my inclination to let people into my life or seek assistance.

Nowadays, I'm comfortable with my aloneness. I visit museums, travel, and meet friends for coffee, all by myself. Being alone feels secure as an Ultra Independent. It grants me control and safeguards me through the deliberate choice of solitude.

If someone were to suggest that I learn to trust others, both you and I as Ultra Independents would burst into laughter. Trust is the last thing we allow ourselves to do. However, trust becomes imperative on the journey of healing.

So, how does an Ultra Independent make a change?

Connecting with online communities can be a crucial step. For those of us who struggle to open up in person, online forums, social media groups, and discussion boards provide a valuable outlet. Engaging in conversations, sharing thoughts, and gradually seeking advice or assistance can help us realize that there are kind and supportive individuals out there who are willing to offer guidance and lend a helping hand.

Engaging in group activities is another way for an Ultra Independent to learn how to accept help. When we participate in teamwork, we have to allow others to contribute their part. This experience helps us learn to ask for assistance within a group setting. Personally, I have joined a local charity, which requires involvement in group activities and relinquishing the sole responsibility of planning and execution.

Learning to let others take the lead is also vital. As I've been working on loosening my grip on ultra independence, I have found mentors whom I admire. Allowing them to take the lead has shown me that others can excel or perform just as well as I can, and I don't have to shoulder all the burden.

Improv classes can be surprisingly helpful, not only in enhancing creativity and spontaneity but also in building trust and connection. Engaging in improvisational exercises and activities teaches us to rely on our fellow performers, embrace vulnerability, and surrender control. The supportive atmosphere of these classes facilitates the development of self-trust and trust in others as we collaborate to create something unique together.

Above all, remember to be kind to yourself and remember that we dont have to do this all alone.

Much love

Gail x

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