One of the most difficult aspects of independence is that a lot of people in our society today fear it. They fear to be in control of their own life because that means that you can’t place blame - for anything - on anyone but yourself. Scary prospect, that. But society today has a confused outlook on what independence truly is. Independence isn’t about you hardening yourself and suppressing who you are and never letting anyone help you. Surprised?

Dependence and independence are pretty misunderstood. Independent doesn’t mean you’re narcissistic and anti-social, overly-driven and aggressive. Dependence doesn’t mean you’re weak, spineless, or can’t do anything for yourself. Both independence and dependence are good, necessary, and healthy - and they don’t oppose each other as you might think. We need both to be happy. And having both in our lives begins with having other people in our lives.

First of all, society hints that depending on anyone is a sign of weakness. Anytime you get involved with another, and you begin to feel as if you can depend on them (a significant definition of dependence), others may make you feel as if you’re doing something wrong. This definitely isn’t the case. But if you listen to that logic, you find yourself alone, feeling lonely and insecure. 

The key to this seeming conundrum is to surround yourself with the right people. The right people will hold you up, not bring you down. They are people that you can feel healthy depending on. They are people that will allow you to grow and will help you learn to stand on your own two feet, while still being there for you when you need them. These are the type of people you want to surround yourself with.

The fact is, we need to be interconnected in order to be strong. Our togetherness is not a weakness at all - it is a great strength! Staying “independent” by forcing yourself to be alone isn’t the right kind of independence. Feeling as if you are weak because of your connections to other humans isn’t right, either. It’s human nature to want to be connected to others. And just like anything in nature, a human being can’t thrive if it is separated and alone.

Resolve to be independent by understanding how humans connect and interrelate. Seek out relationships that support you and your growth. Educate yourself on healthy and unhealthy forms of independence, and dependence. Learn to become dependent on the right people for the right reasons, and you’ll be standing on your own two feet, and feeling great about it.