There’s a strong need in our society to be independent. It’s certainly something that I internalized as one of the highest values, as one of my defining characteristics.
But humans are inherently social creatures. We are so wired to each other that studies have demonstrated that moods, obesity, and even altruism appear to be “contagious” – that we share and absorb more of ourselves that most of us realize.
It’s critical to find and stay conscious of the balance between independence and the need for community. Too much independence can lead to isolation and depression or feelings of rejection. Too much reliance on the group can lead to dependence and the inability to move forward or a leveling out of creativity and innovation.
This balance is delicate and relies on consciousness. And the willingness to speak up when you recognize either sense of self or sense of community is lacking, when you need to be left alone or when you really shouldn’t be.
This is a balance that needs to be found not only by individuals, but also by communities – and even nations.
Start today by noticing what parts of your life feed your needs for independence and which help you feel the support of others. Then notice which of those you actively recognize and seek out vs. do out of habit.
This is my task for myself.