The Necessity of Interdependence

There are two kinds of men who never amount to much: those who cannot do what they are told, and those who can do nothing else. – Cyrus H. Curtis

One of the greatest challenges of living in a society (or a community, or family, or relationship) – with its myriad influences and normative (and sometimes stifling) forces – is learning how to live as a distinct individual, with internal freedoms and desires and to be a contributing member of the whole.

As Stephen Covey reminds us, there are different forms of dependence; some good and some not.

Codependence is the easy one. Whenever we derive our identity, security, or whatever, from something outside ourselves, we are co-dependent. We mistakenly believe that we cannot move-forward/be-happy/survive without something or someone.

Independence is nearly as tragic a state as it is seen as positive and empowered by many, but it’s really just a form of rebellion. It’s a way of disassociating from the World. Independence may lead to survival, but it’s a rather miserable existence compared to (what I consider the Ideal): Interdependence.

Interdependence is a approach that insists on self-reliance, yet recognizes – and nurtures – the value of community.

When you’re interdependent, you could exist on your own, but you recognize that your life would be so much more if you make the effort to be a contributing member of something larger than yourself.

Perhaps my riffing on the different dependencies is not – 100% – in keeping Mr. Curtis’ sentiment, but both his words and, I believe mine, are useful.

We need to hear, consider and integrate both.

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