Independence brings to mind this idea of being a strong, self-reliant person. Someone who is capable of being on their own, caring for themself. All good things arguably. I love the idea of being independent, and have ever since I realized from a young age that you cannot rely on others to make you happy. You must create your own happiness. I’ve not always been independent, however. My dependence has ebbed and flowed with the changing seasons of my life. In high school, I became quite interdependent on my friends. It is only natural that our reliance on others changes as we grow and change ourselves.
On the topic of independence, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“We women who do too much are terrified of being dependent. We clearly understand that ‘dependency invites encroachment.’ Unfortunately, our fear of dependency often results in behavior that looks like independence but is really what the psychologists call counterdependence. We are so afraid of dependency that we can’t trust anyone, which means that we are still controlled by our dependency needs. Whenever we are circling around any form of dependency, whether it be dependence, independence, or interdependence, we probably are in trouble.
Another option is not to define ourselves in terms of dependency. We can learn to be self-defining. We can learn not to ask others to form our identities for us. Only then can we be truly free and bring the gift of ourselves to any relationship.”
Independence can be its own sort of encroachment. When we are so caught up in not relying on anyone for fear of abandonment and lack of trust, we are still thinking only of our dependence on others. We are not embodying a healthy self-reliance. This has ofen been the case in times of my life where I gained newfound indepedence. I felt abandoned by friends and distrustful of others. I would rather be alone that experience that pain again. My indepedence thus was born out of my reliance on others still, even though at first glance you’d think I was relying only on myself.
Why do we get so caught up on labels anyway? We label and judge others, and we do the same to ourselves. Are we really going to live our lives based on some arbitrary classification though? Far better to live our lives on our own terms, defining ourselves and doing with ourselves what we will. We shouldn’t get so hung up on what others think or even our own ideas of what we should be. We should simply just be.