I was at my sister and brother in law’s new home in Indiana when my views on Independence were challenged. I sat in a cushioned chair in their four-seasons room while I sipped my coffee and stared out the window towards the river. I thought to myself, “I am so excited to get to the point where I am totally independent!” and just as quickly as that thought came, another one came through. I say it was God because it didn’t feel like my own, it came from a place higher in comparison to the level of my awareness was at that time. I felt God say, “No one is Independent. You need air to breathe, food to eat, warmth to stay alive and people to give you money. I made life this way so that you can all need one another”.
Where did the Independence mindset come from?
I can only speak from my own experience and observation. I will say that in my personal life, I wanted to be independent because that was the narrative I was often given. “Don’t depend on anybody”, “People will let you down”, “Don’t expect much from others” and the list can go on. I was creating this idea in my head that I couldn’t trust anyone and that I was better off depending on myself. The life-story that best defines this in my life would be when I was in sales. I got to a point in the company where I was leading 30-50 people on my team and I had to regulate licenses, sales, new-hires, training and more. I wanted control over everything because I didn’t want to get too comfortable relying on someone’s help due to fear. Many destructive behaviors came from this. I didn’t take feedback well as I should’ve, I would quickly dismiss ideas, and the worst one was that through my actions, I gave everyone this sense that I thought they were inferior to me. It was horrible and I didn’t realize how limiting this was to a collaborative environment. My pride in wanting to be independent was being challenged in my every day life. In romantic relationships, I didn’t want to be transparent, I didn’t allow men to take care of me in meaningful ways; I was pushing connections away. It took some inner-work to strip away this narrative that plays loud and soundly to this day of my limiting beliefs of independence. Now I strive to be resourceful, not independent.
Resourceful vs Independent
I agree that being resourceful is something we all strive to be, even at a young age. We want to be “big kids” and do things for ourselves. I have a kind friend who, despite his disabilities, strives to be resourceful in his everyday life. I won’t deny this human desire to feel like we are capable of bringing value to a space and community because we can. We want to serve and contribute to a cause bigger than just ourselves; it’s our human nature. The more I observe the current generation, I notice that to be resourceful and to be independent stem from two different vocations. I can see pride growing in striving to be independent and at the same time I also see the selfishness that can derive from such a mindset. As soon as we believe we stand alone, we treat everything and anyone as secondary to us. This creates a subconscious idea that we must look out for ourselves solely and never allow ourselves to accept that we can be a team with others. I see this in relationships today, people saying out loud, “I don’t need a man/woman”, but this isn’t true. Without a man and a woman, we wouldn’t be here. Being resourceful in life is an asset but to be independent is to not be human.
Dependence has its purpose
We are not independent. We must value everything and anyone that provides any type of resource to our lives. A man or woman might say, “Well, I’m a farmer and I don’t need civilization. I live on my own land!”. Even then, you need the soil, the sun, water, your health and mobility in your body to do what you need to do. Being dependent teaches us to respect life, people and it unites us with one another. Dependence has its purpose in our well-being. We need our mother’s womb to survive during those 9 months of pregnancy. We can’t be in a loving human-relationship without another being. Dependence is good in many ways and I hope we can see this.
Peace and Love be with you,
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