Steven Covey identified three stages of existence in ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ – dependency, independence & interdependence with dependence being the lowest rung of the ladder and interdependence the highest. It was pretty shocking to me ’cause I always believed independence was the highest of all states. But, alas, no man is an island. And, obviously synergy is better than individual efforts. Two heads are better than one. But, are they really? How to distinguish between dependence & interdependence? Or, is being self reliant – independence better? Which one is good? What if interdependence does not work?
Organizations push towards team work, societies towards families and relationships. But, sometimes we confuse ourselves between dependency & interdependence. Every individual is unique, and everyone has their own rule book. And, no two rule books are ever the same. So, in a realtionship when two individuals meet there are bound to be differences and, if, in a relationship differences are natural, expectations we have on the other will only lead to disappointments. These ‘let downs’ can leave us emotionally high and dry. Sometimes hurting us to an extent were we can never trust another person. Relationships are messy. And, it is times like these that we need to question ourselves if we are interdependent or dependent?
If we cannot send out the reports we need to without the help of our team mate, it’s time to think. When we cannot cook by ourselves, depending on our spouse for it, it’s time to think. If we are not able to get our basic work done without someones help we are dependent, but if we can handle our life alone and would love to be with someone and share our responsibilities with them and take over some of their’s, then we are interdependent. But, whatever the case when expectations fail in a relationship we need to have someone to fall back to for support. That someone has to be ourselves. Why? ’cause the friends you had once may not be the ones you have now, and the relationships you have today may not be the ones you have tomorrow, but the only one who’ll be there with us all along the journey is ourself. Then, who better to trust than ourselves?
If we fall from interdependency we must fall into independence. But, how comfortable are we with ourselves? Some people go to any extent to avoid being with themselves. A friend asked me once if I go to the movies alone. I said, yes. He was shocked and called me a freak. I didn’t understand. It was perfect normal to me, but he always needed company. To me it was dependence but to him interdependence. Nothing wrong with his preference. But, what if he wanted to see the movie but had no company? Would he go alone or forgo the movie? If you and your spouse had a fight and he or she walked out on you, will you be able to manage your household? If your team mate resigns will you be able to handle that work? I’m sure we’ll all be able to but, how long will it take for us to do things on our own? And, how willingly do we do it? Am I saying this out of insecurity? Even if I am, can you deny there’s truth in what I said?
If being interdependent is plan A. Falling back on ourselves is plan B. So, what do we do to trust ourselves better?
Take responsibility of your life – if its bothering you, do it. If it needs to be done and you can do it – do it. If trash needs to thrown, get up and throw it. Don’t expect your family member to do it. If you rely on your team mate to do some mumbo jumbo on the report so that you can work on it, learn that mumbo jumbo. Stop depending. If people do it for you, good enough. But, if they don’t, don’t wait for them. (Also, remember if people are doing something for you, they expect something from you in return. Understand all relationships are based on ‘give & take’ barter system. Only, a few transcend that level).
Know what is to be done – ignorance leads us to dependency. Don’t know to cook, then please learn. Knowledge is wealth. Doing something we thought we couldn’t without the help of others builds confidence.
Love yourself – Some of us let ourselves be illtreated by others because we don’t love ourselves enough. Because we unconsciously believe we are not ‘worth’ it. If we ourselves think less of ourselves then who would think high of us? Realising no one is perfect, accepting ourselves with all flaws, forgiving ourselves for our follies, understanding perfection is a myth, help us in living with ourselves better.
People walk in and walk out of our lives. Some leave scars, some memories; making it hard to move on in both the cases. But, we cannot stop this natural course of life and knowing that there’s someone who’s got our back in the hour of need gives us the courage to go on in life.