In today’s world, it is not uncommon for someone to describe themselves as ‘independent’. When they say this, they could say it as if they are talking about something that is a normal part of life, or they could say it with a sense of pride.
In the first case, one may have experienced life in this way for quite some time and as a result of this, they don’t feel the need to make out that they are doing anything exceptional. Through being this way, they are likely to be in a position where they can support themselves financial.
However, even if they haven’t experienced life in this way for long, they are still not going to have the need to make a big deal of it. This could be a sign that they know what it’s like to be on the other side and this can then cause them to be extremely grateful.
When one is only too happy to talk about how ‘independent’ they are it could be a sign that they haven’t been this way for very long. But even if they have, they still feel the need to let other people know about how they experience life.
Therefore, it is not going enough for them to be able to financially support themselves, for instance, they will need to take it further. And while they might be grateful, there the chance that there will be a greater focus on how well they have done.
If these people were asked how they were before they were ‘independent, they may say that they were ‘dependent’. Through being this way, they may say that it wasn’t possible for them to support themselves financially.
The money they had would have come from other people and this means it would have been given to them. Nowadays, the money they have is the result of the work they have put in, and this shows that they have worked for it.
Along with this, they could also say that they can take care of their own emotional needs. Through being this way, they can say that they don’t need anyone in their life and that they can do everything by themselves.
Through having this outlook, it could mean that they avoid romantic relationships and not only this; they might not have any close friends either. And while they could have family around them, they might do everything they can to keep them at a certain distance.
However, if they do end up in a relationship with someone, they are unlikely to be able to experience intimacy, and this is because they probably won’t be able to let go. By having the need to do anything by themselves and to remain ‘independent’, it could stop them from being able to be vulnerable and to really connect to another person.
This could also mean that they are likely to have ‘casual encounters’, as they are not going to have the need to be vulnerable in these kinds kinds of interactions. And while they may have friends that have the same outlook; they may find that they often come into contact with people who are needy.
If one is in this position and they can financially support themselves, it is clear to see that they are not financially dependent on others. Yet even though they are playing an important part in what is taking place, it doesn’t mean that they don’t depend on anyone.
For one thing, they are going to depend on their employer to pay them at the end of each month. And even if they are self-employed, they are going to depend on their clients or customers money.
Before This Happens
But before they even get to work, they are going to depend on their car or a train to get them there, and if they walk there, they are going to depend on the paths or the roads that have been built by others. If one is self-employed and they work from home, they are going to depend on a device that was built by others and an internet connection that is maintained by others.
Yet in order for them to even get this far, they will need to eat and drink, and even if they are able to grow their food, they are still going to be dependent on the earth. There is also the air that one needs in order to survive.
What this shows is that it would be more appropriate for one to say that they are interdependent. And although they may want to believe that they don’t need others, this is not something that is based on reality.
Other people play a vital part in their ability to survive on this planet and without their support; their life would be very different. This is not to say that one needs one person in particular in order to survive; what it means is that they need other people in general.
The Terrible Twos
When a child reaches their second birthday, they are likely to have the need to break away from their caregivers and to explore life by themselves. During this time, the child will go away and then come back, and this will take place for quiet some time.
Throughout this time, the child can come to believe that it doesn’t need anyone else, but it would soon start to panic if its caregiver wasn’t there when it returned. Therefore, even though the child can act as though it is independent, this is nothing more than an illusion.
At this age, the Childs ability to think is not going to be fully developed so there is no reason why it should see life differently. But when it comes to an adult, they are not going to be in the same position, and this means that they have the ability to see that they are actually interdependent.
Also, if one’s needs were not met during their younger years, it can cause them to go to the other extreme and to act as though they are needless. During these years, they would have been made to feel ashamed for having needs and as a way to stop themselves from feeling this pain, they can act as though they don’t need others.
But while this will cause them to suffer, the pain they experience won’t be as painful as the pain they would experience if they were to get in touch with how they felt all those years ago. They are likely to be carrying toxic shame, and through disconnecting from this shame, it can set them up to be shameless and it will then be normal for them to lose touch with their humanity.
One consequence of this will be for them to act as though they are more-than human and this means that they will believe that they don’t need others. Based on what happened as a child, having needs will be seen as a weakness and it then is important for them to hide their needs.
If one is in this position and they find it hard to embrace the fact that they need others, it will be important for them to process the pain that is within then. As this takes place, they will be able to accept the fact that they are interdependent.
This is a process that can take place with the assistance of a therapist and/or a support group.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.