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Seven-year-old Yana and her ninang (godmother) were out in the park one day. They were riding a bicycle with a sidecar for the first time.

“Faster! Faster!” Yana shouted in the passenger seat. Her laughter filled the park as Ninang quickly pedaled and did a few tricks.

After a while, she asked to switch places. “Why?” asked Ninang.

“It’s your turn to be the passenger. I’ll drive.”

“Are you sure? I’m much heavier than you.”

“Yes. I can do it!”

After a few adjustments to the driver’s seat, Yana got ready while her passenger sat comfortably.

Yana hardened her grip and straightened the handlebars. She took a deep breath and, with all her might, pushed on the pedals with her tiny feet. At first, the bike barely budged. But she persisted and eventually achieved movement (with a secret nudge from Ninang).

“You can do it Yana!” her passenger cheered. A few feet slowly turned into a few meters. 

After a while, “Okay, it’s your turn again Ninang,” said a tired Yana.

Yana settled back in the sidecar, cheering for speed. Then she got quiet, as if deep in thought. Her eyes grew wide with more excitement. Suddenly, she asked Ninang to stop.

“May I pedal by myself?” she asked.

“Sure,” Ninang replied, understanding the child’s epiphany.

Her godmother watched in the sidelines as Yana giggled her way around the park, swiftly pedaling the bike with an empty sidecar all by herself.

Lesson from a 7-year-old

Like Yana, have we learned to recognize if it’s time for us to do something on our own?

Maybe Yana had a goal—to pedal faster or do some tricks someday. She might have realized that she can learn faster without the weight of a passenger.

Another lesson—learn to enjoy things on our own. Some things are more fun when experienced independently. Sometimes, we can have more fun by ourselves.

Perhaps we also need to recognize if something is weighing us down and if we should let go to move forward.

For our reflection

Are my goals in limbo because I’m too afraid to pursue them on my own?

Do I often think that I can’t accomplish things by myself?

Am I uncomfortable at times when I am by myself?

For further reflection, you might want to explore my second book, ASK FOR A BIGGER BLANKET. There is a chapter dedicated to dealing with limiting beliefs. Believing that we are unable to do things on our own is a limiting belief. It limits our independence and sense of self.

We don’t have to do things by ourselves all the time. But it’s empowering to know that we can. There are some journeys, along with challenges, that we need to go through on our own.

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