However, is that really independence? Can one really be independent in the way that we define it? Autonomy, freedom and self-sufficiency are all synonymous with this state of being. It's obviously a preferred state...........not relying on others for our personal well-being........forging ahead alone and figuring things out all by ourselves..........
This notion is flawed. Sure we strive to accomplish goals and tasks on our own, but independence is an illusion. Consider someone like Bill Gates or Donald Trump. Consider a Prime Minister or President. Consider a successful novelist or artist, who though work mostly alone in their creative moments, rely on others for many facets of their artistic process. Gates and Trump couldn't be successful without support from family, colleagues, and the employees who make their "dreams" a reality. A politician may be at the top of his or her political hill, but they needed thousands of people to help them along the way.
It's funny how we tend to forget or deny the fact that if we live in a society, we depend on one another. We are all connected for various reasons and at various levels of attachment. It doesn't matter how stylishly rich or important you think you are........you depend on the community, be it local or global............for services, safety, support, friendship.......gee everything from dry cleaning to dog training. And yet, we consider dependence as weak?
Dependence connotes an imbalance..........one person dependent on another -- one family dependent on social assistance -- one public housing unit dependent on subsidized services from the government -- one elderly person dependent on their nursing care in a senior's home. The person, family or community that feels a sense of dependence more times than not feel a depletion in their self-worth. And, that's sad. But, once the scales tip to "favour" the giver, it's very difficult to tilt it back to evenness.
This isn't rocket science. Our well being and our survival depends on the interdependence with other people. Sure depending on people means asking for help..........it takes one to trust as well as to be aware that every now and then, you're going to feel vulnerable if you're on the receiving end. It may also mean a compromise............you may have to do things for someone that you may not like. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
Yes, we are all lucky to feel a sense of independence, self-sufficiency, freedom, autonomous ............liberated because we have been able to rely on the love and support of others and on our faith. Interactions with the people in our neighbourhood, with the people you meet during the course of your day, with family and friends......................all provide sustenance and connectivity that allow us to have both roots and wings. We need both. You can't fly without direction. You can't fly without fueling up every now and then.
Staunch independence is an illusion. Imbalanced dependence is unhealthy. Interdependence is what we must strive for because it is interdependence that feeds empathy, understanding, compassion, happiness and a sense of belonging. What can be more important?
"As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy, even if I just got a good checkup at the Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are all interdependent." - Martin Luther King