The Illusion of Independence

If you are “independent”, you are strong, you are the master of your own destiny. You rely on no one because people who depend on others are weak and not able to stand on their own two feet.

This is wrong.

No one is independent. Unless you live alone on an island, you cannot make this claim. Everything you are is because of other people. If you grew up in isolation, with no human contact Рwho would you be today?

In reality we are all very dependent on so many people around us:

  • for a sense of belonging, to love and be loved.
  • to teach us.
  • to give us opportunity.
  • to give us strength when we are weak.
  • to validate or challenge our perceptions.

Embrace your dependence but always remember to appreciate that people will also be dependent on you for different things. Do not forget to give back otherwise you may find yourself with no one to depend on – don’t fool yourself – you are dependent.

This co-dependence is at the core of all our personal relationships. It is the web that we call society, culture and economy. Humanity can be seen as a single complex organism which evolves over time through collective learning and memory. How cool is that?!

Everything we achieve in life is through others.

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11 comments
  1. Jumping_Jenny_444 said:

    I love your insightful post! It’s so true :)

  2. I just thought I would say thank you for liking my post on National Suicide Prevention Week. It was a very difficult piece to write.

    • Never forget that life is beautiful even if you are sometimes temporarily in a state where you can’t see that. :)

      • It is one of the many things am I am working with my therapist about. :)

  3. Zyp Czyk said:

    How true: Everything we achieve in life is through others. I hope most young people understand that these days – and if not, I hope you can convince them :-)

    I would also add “luck” – we are all subject to the vagaries of life, loss in unavoidable, life is not fair, and our achievements are determined by the resources we have available to us at the time. Recent studies have shown that even the “greats” in history became great through a confluence of their own actions and plain “dumb luck”.

  4. Sure. You don’t need luck to fly. You do need a fair bit to get very high. But if you are a positive influence on many people around you then they will return the goodness – you can create your own luck in this way to some extent :)

  5. Raquel Castillo said:

    Agree to disagree :)

    There’s a theory by Jorge Bucay (an Argentinian psychologist who writes self help books, among other things) stating that the most balanced way to be is what he calls self dependancy. Being self dependent, as opposed to being dependent, means that you call the shots all the time, even when you’re asking for help YOU make the choice to do so.

    • Well that is true Raquel. But I guess this comes down to the context and chosen definition of the words here of “dependent” and “independent”.

      What I am trying to say is that we should acknowledge our mutual co-dependence. Not that we should not make any decisions for ourselves – although every decision we make can be seen as based on our prior experiences and how they have shaped our initial genetic foundation. So we should also seek experiences that will help us make better decisions in the future also known as “learning” and “education”.

      I think a lot of cases of depression and broader social problems are caused by the individualist pressures of our culture which are unnatural to our tribal/social nature. It lowers social empathy and makes people feel disconnected from others. But I think our culture is moving in the right direction in this area.

  6. jessdv95 said:

    I never thought about it that way. Thank you so much for this post! This puts things into a different perspective that I need to try using.

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