Do you prefer to do things on your own? Are you the kind of person who likes to figure things out for yourself, lick your wounds in private, and celebrate as a party of one?
Every so often, I meet a client who suffers from what I like to call “Lone Wolf Syndrome.” This is the sort of person who not only prefers to go it alone, but also has trouble accepting a victory unless it was obtained without any help. In fact, the Lone Wolf even struggles when asking for guidance in confidence development, because he believes that he should be able to figure it out for himself.
While it can be wonderful to feel a sense of accomplishment based on a victory that is all your own, taking it to extremes is an astounding obstacle to our growth.
For many of us—men in particular—this is a mindset that’s indoctrinated by our families. We’re brought up to believe that no matter what comes up, we should just handle it:
- Emotional problems? You can handle it.
- Physical injuries? Suck it up.
- Problems at school? Figure it out.
Sometimes, it’s not even a lack of empathy—we’re just following the modeling we see from our parents or mentors. They held everything in, kept a stiff upper lip, and powered through, results be damned. Then we took that example and carried it forward and demand the same thing of ourselves, even if it feels false and unnatural.
The problem with that modeling is that it’s not necessarily brave or efficient—most of the time, it’s just plain prideful. It’s an unhealthy illusion that takes us out of our natural condition as human beings.
Like it or not, we as a species are not meant to go it alone.
Think about it: you were developed and birthed by another person; you were fed, clothed, and sheltered by another person; and for most people, your home, roads, and public services are built and maintained by other people. From the moment you came into the world, you have been interdependent, as has 99.9% of humanity from the beginning of time.
We reap the benefits of cooperation every single day, in a constant dance of give and take, but we tend to lose sight of that when we get our Lone Wolf blinders on.
Humans were not meant to be totally independent, self-sufficient beings. No man is an island, and the sooner you admit to that and get on board with how remarkable that reality is, the better off you’ll be.
There is so much out there to learn from your fellow man—so many wonderful benefits to soak in. If you can simply let go of the need to do everything on your own, you will find that your life will become richer and the weight of your problems will begin to lift off your shoulders.
Think about it this way: what issues are you dealing with right now that could easily be remedied if you would just let someone else in?
Personally, as a confidence coach, a lot of my work problems tend to be more philosophical: “What concept would benefit this person?” Hence, I tend to turn to books. There are so many brilliant authors out there that I find myself reading constantly and gaining amazing insights from others, especially when I feel stuck.
Now, that can be a great way to solve your problems—and to seek help from others if this is very new to you—but it still mostly keeps you stuck in your habit of handling things on your own.
If you really want to escape your Lone Wolf Syndrome, you must access other resources: seek out a mentor, speak with a therapist, ask for help from a colleague at work, or join a community of likeminded people.
The most important thing you have to do on this journey toward accepting your interdependence is to let go of your pride.
So many people who deal with this issue let it go on for so long that it becomes almost like shaking an addiction to give it up. They wait to deal with it until their relationships are breaking apart, their careers are imploding, and their mental states are in shambles.
If you want to avoid serious issues in your future, the time to remove some of that armor is NOW. You can read all the books you want, but at some point, if you really want to make dramatic changes, you’re going to have to reach out to someone and have a personal interaction.
You can look online to find your community, or you can simply ask your friends for their suggestions. I have been incredibly lucky in finding the personal resources I enjoy, and I can only boast those connections because I was able to let go of my pride early on and accept that I need other people to be truly happy.
This is the same happiness I wish for you.
I am so grateful for the people I’ve found in my life: the teachers, counselors, coaches, and mentors who helped me to grow and who I continue to work and collaborate with to this day. This same sense of community is available to you as well, if you will only let it in.
If you feel incredibly stuck in this regard and don’t know where to begin, then take advantage of me and my community at SocialConfidenceCenter.com. On my sight, you can find coaching, group mentorship, live events, and several counselors who work on my team. If that doesn’t suit you, there are so many wonderful counselors out there just waiting to give you their time and guidance.
Books are a lovely resource, but they don’t force you to be vulnerable.
If you really want to grow, then allow yourself to drop that Lone Wolf demeanor and reveal your struggling self to others. Find your community, seek out your mentor, and take a risk by being seen more cooperatively in the world. This is the act of courage that will bring you more happiness than all your Lone Wolf actions to date.
As always, I invite you to share your comments and questions below! What problems do you always try to solve on your own? Have you noticed a change in your stress levels and happiness since accepting help every now and then? We all need a hand once in a while, so let’s start here: ask for help when you need it, and take the time to share your successes when you can so that others can benefit from your wisdom. We’re all in this together!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.