It must be thrilling to be a solo-climber; to scale rock faces with nothing but your own skill and strength. To surmount a peak and know that few, or none, have stood where you stand – it must be very satisfying.

I learnt to climb with an acquaintance; all roped up and in my harness, he held the rope that would stop me falling if I slipped. I relied on his guidance when I couldn’t see the plastic foot-holds I should use. He taught me to use my legs for strength and lifting, and my hands and arms just for gripping. I learnt styles of climbing from watching him brace, stretch and sometimes jump across the indoor climbing wall.

I didn’t know him very well, but having him teach me the basics was good for both of our self-esteem, and respect for one another.

I did read books and websites; maybe I could have taught myself – but who would have held the rope to stop me plummeting?

There are so many simple pleasures we can persue and enjoy on our own. Your passions and habits may be unique in your area; you might be an expert in something or other. You might take solace in a book, or enjoy crocheting while listening to the radio or a podcast, or painting dragons (either on canvas or  on screen!) – you deserve your ‘alone time’ and I hope you get a lot out of your hobbies, passions, interests and pursuits.

I also hope you share your passions with others, maybe online, maybe with friends. I hope you have interests and hobbies that are best practiced together.

When I think about my mental health (I nearly said ‘mental wealth’, and maybe that’s a good phrase) I immediately think about ‘self-help‘ and all I have done to learn about the mind and brain and the processes we can use to better master our emotions and behaviours.

The LifeSIGNS website has a decent help section that should inspire anyone who’s struggling to try something new to bolster their energy and determination.

But no one should be alone in their journey towards health and happiness. In fact, happiness is more valuable when shared. The dark times are lighter when we know there are people who care about us.

We are more powerful when we’re together, when we share, when we look for similarities and when we help each other stick to our plans.

We are more powerful when we learn from others and adapt processes for our personal use – and then share our insights.

We are more powerful when we know just how much others have achieved, and when we can still honestly recognise how hard things can be.

Yes, LifeSIGNS is partly about self-help, but we’re also about making things better for others and working together for the benefit of everyone.

I never did climb very high, and I never did fall more than a (terrifying) slight stumble. But I was glad to have the (physical) support of my friend.


Now read Jules’ post and then Rachel’s post from earlier today.

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