There’s a life skill I’ve been taught to strive for from a very early age. This skill has guided much of my decision making and has become something I’ve built myself around. As the skill has grown and developed, I have felt more successful. Yet, less happy and more stressed. The skill I’m referring to is independence.
I feel the fear of being dependent is inherently ingrained in us. It’s treated so unfavorable in our culture and displayed quite negatively in the political realm. And it’s not a newly formed view. This quote from Voltaire is from 1764.
“All men would then be necessarily equal, if they were without needs. It is the poverty connected with our species which subordinates one man to another. It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence.”
While I feel Voltaire was trying to push for a more equal society here, the fear that we could be beholden to someone for requiring basic needs was still felt back then. So, I’ve strived to make sure I was able to take care of myself, in all aspects. I felt once I was able to take care of myself well enough that I’d open myself up to taking care of someone else. But, for me, that feeling of accomplishment never came and when I looked in the rear view mirror, I was years down the road. The finish line never arrived and I’m not certain that it exists.
I’m beginning to understand we need to revert our teaching to interdependency as opposed to independency. We’ve lost focus on tribal living and only look out for our own interests. My fiance has been saying this to me for quite a while now and I’m finally believing what she’s long known. We need a radical shift as a society. We need to start taking care of one another instead of focusing on ourselves and our own needs. Independency is selfish and misguided. There is likely not one person who is capable of taking care of all of their needs on their own. So, we must depend upon one another. And open ourselves up to being helped. This is a lesson I’m still learning myself. I still struggle to ask for help. It’s hard to break that long held view that it’s a sign of weakness or cut to one’s pride. And it’s a process, not a destination. Thankfully, I have the greatest partner I could ever ask for along with me for the journey. She’s opening my eyes up to a world I truly want to be a part of.