Limit to independence

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.

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2 responses to “Limit to independence

  1. Something I’ve had a particularly hard time with — getting the two needs completely backwards. There are times when I feel like I need to be alone, and the truth is that I really need to break out of my shell and engage a little. And then the reverse; feeling the desire to be social when really I need to hunker down and face something that needs facing.

    Good post, Cianna!

    • Thanks, Bryan! I’m sorry that I missed your response when you wrote it. Recently I’ve been trying to sort out what it is that I’m really wanting when I’m resisting whatever state I’m in (whether it’s being alone or being social). Right now I’m wanting to feel my connection to other people, sometimes that’s a fun bright party energy and sometimes it’s a more quiet emotional connection that I’m seeking. The cool thing has been for me to realize that once I know what it is that I’m really seeking, I’ve been able to find it, often far more simply than I would expect.

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