Independent is good but inter-dependent is even better!
Last week saw America celebrating its’ Day of Independence and I wrote about the benefits of being independent in oneself from one’s situation or circumstance. (If you didn’t get to read that blog, you can find it here.) But what about when independence goes from being a good thing that helps you to be create the life you want to becoming a quality that by holding on too tightly to actually stops you from getting close to anyone.
We have been in one way or the other swooped by the tide of modernism called: achieving independence. I would even go as far as making it one of our definitive terms of our era: “the dawn of independence” or an “age of independence”. Having independence over one’s circumstance is great and empowering, as I wrote last week; but what does wanting complete independence of everything really mean in the context of our relationships with other people?
Lets face it, being completely independent is most often related to being single, empowered, financially not in need of anyone else, and in no need of having a partner. But though having this kind of freedom to do whatever one wants without having to consider the feelings of another may sound liberating and fun in a moment, many such moments together into a long part of one’s lifetime and this independence can begin to feel very lonely.
Hence independence can become a double-edged sword: liberating and empowering on one hand — bringing with it freedom of self and decision over ones circumstances — while also carrying loneliness and a lack of strings or relationships when taken too far. So what is the answer?
Well the answer, I believe, is something I call interdependence. Interdependence is akin to the saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its’ parts”. Interdependence is collaboration, it’s co-working, it’s sharing, and it’s partnership. Independence may make us strong as individuals, but interdependence makes us stronger as a whole. Interdependence is better for the unit. Picture the cohesive couple versus the one where each is thinking only of their own selfish needs (divorce court anyone). And interdependence is also better for society as a whole (peace process where each side gets their needs met versus perpetual threat of war as each is attempting to exert what it believes is right).
The truth is that total independence can never be achieved as nothing in this world exists in itself; everything to an extent is dependent on some other thing and needs something else to ensure its’ own survival. As we need plants, water, and sometimes animals (or another food source) to survive as nourishment, so in the world where we are still beings of relationships, we need other people to survive and love for happiness (parents, siblings, friends, lovers, colleagues etc).
I have seen countless cases of ‘independent’ women, who seemed to have it all, feeling completely unhappy due to loneliness. Independence taken too far leaves us clinging to something that will never truly fulfil us. Interdependence is the better version that takes into account our strengths and the strengths as a whole of those we can work together with to succeed beyond just ourselves.
Should you wish to understand how you too can move towards interdependence, finding that ideal partner to share your life with, or sharing your life better by improving your relationship with your current partner, you can schedule your free 30 minute phone call with Julia here.