Rough patches are bound to happen. The assumption that life will be a smooth ride is not only wrong, but also toxic. Going forward expecting to be all songs and birds will set us for some big disappointments. The only constant in the Universe is change, they say, and they are right.
Another wrong assumption is that, when we’re hit by some unavoidable misfortune, other people will eventually save us. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask for help. It simply means nobody can swim for us. If we find ourselves taken away by rough undercurrents, we have to do the swimming, that’s how it works. Other people may be there for us, but they can’t carry us over (or they may try, but eventually we’ll both sink).
And that finally leads us to the title: how do we find a good anchor when a storm hits?
First of all, such an anchor should be stronger than us. Meaning we shouldn’t look for help in people who are more troubled than us. No matter how charismatic they are, no matter how much we believe they should help us, if they aren’t floating by themselves, it won’t work. So the first, and the most important condition: our anchor should be stable enough to float by itself.
Second, a good anchor should be affordable, in the sense that we should afford to cling to it. That means so many things at once. It means the anchor should accept us, should give us some grip. We shouldn’t try to cling to a stable anchor who doesn’t really want us. In time, the grip surface will be smaller and smaller and we’ll float away. It also means the anchor should have compatible handles. You can’t really grip on handle which is too wide, or placed too high. There must be some sort of compatibility at the connection point, a compatibility that will endure, that will function without too much energy from any of the parts involved.
And third, a good anchor shouldn’t be too comfortable. If it’s too good to ride through life attached to that anchor, we will lose the yearning for other horizons, and, in time, even the ability to swim by ourselves. A good anchor should function only until we’re able to swim by ourselves again. That doesn’t mean we can’t float around that anchor anymore, should we want. On the contrary, we can stay in the vicinity of whoever we want, as long as we are accepted, and as long as we both agree to swim in the same direction. It’s just that we shouldn’t parasite an anchor. It won’t help either of us.
Of course, all of the above also applies – from the opposite perspective – if you want to be an anchor for others.