Busting the Independence Myth


I was thinking about independence this morning, and reflecting on how hard it is for some of us to ask for, let alone accept it. I know I’m guilty of that myself, and while on one hand, I thoroughly enjoy the activity of figuring things out on my own, I sometimes let myself struggle too long and end up giving up, instead of asking for or accepting the specific help I need. I like the feeling of being independent, of doing it on my own, and as I was thinking about this with my morning coffee, I remembered the fallacy of that feeling.

The idea of independence is somewhat of a myth. NOTHING happens without the contribution of someone or something, other than, and outside from ourselves. We are rarely as self-sufficient as we think we are.

Let’s use the everyday bodily function of going to the washroom as an example. One of the first things we are proud of accomplishing all on our own as infants, we don’t actually do on our own. For starters, think of the number of people and systems that contributed to the manufacturing of the toilet and toilet paper you are using every time you go. And the reason you need to go in the first place, is due to the food and beverages you’ve consumed which also involved the efforts of various people and systems to make available. Even if you just drank tap water, there are a number of systems that have been put in place that make that possible. And don’t forget all that was involved in building the room or structure that is providing you with the privacy to even attempt such monumental feat. An accomplishment – yes, all on your own… not by a long shot! I realize this is a pretty simple example, and I challenge you to review anything you think you’ve done on your own today or anytime in your life, and see if it’s absolutely true. Even breathing outdoors is possible only due to nature’s system of photosynthesis.


Why am I busting your bubble by writing this and sharing it with you?  (BTW – I’m busting my own bubble at the same time… see you’re not alone 🙂 ) When we get attached to the idea that we need to do it all on our own, we risk losing sight of all that supports our ability to do anything at all. And in loosing sight of that, we may forget to be grateful for and express appreciation to, all that does contribute to any of our successes – from the minutest of tying our shoes and learning how to ride a bike, to the bigger accomplishment of earning a degree, having a baby or building a business. We truly do not, nor can we, accomplish anything on our own. It saddens me to witness someone struggling to ask for help (frustrating when it’s me) because they think they need to do it on their own. It infuriates me when a loved one won’t reach out because they think they are the only one who can do it (embarrassing when that’s me), and it breaks my heart when someone can’t see that they’re not all alone in this world. I’ve been of these, and will like be again; this is a reminder for me that I’m sharing in case it can be one for you too.

Along with acknowledging all that contributes to anything we do, is the reality that we too, contribute to the success and empowerment of others. Most of the time, we are not even aware that we are doing so.

Independence is a myth – interdependent is what we naturally are.


Next time you’re resistant to ask for help, digging in your heels and feeling like you need to do it all on your own, remember the fallacy in that idea… you can’t, it’s not possible, so let go of trying! Paying it forward is a natural part of our system – as humans and as a part of nature. And if it is a matter of wanting to control… great, then be IN control, by asking for the help you want, as you need it, allow it to come and be over the top grateful, that you got to choose, witness, acknowledge and give appreciation to, the source of at least ‘some’, of ALL (much of which you many never know) that contributed to your success… or failure. Did I just pop another myth bubble? Yes, we naturally contribute to each other’s failures too; we are not solely responsible for those either 🙂 .

Posted by on Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm 
Filed under Awareness, Coaching, Control, Gratitude, Illlusion, Independence, Interdependence, Letting Go, Myth · Tagged with

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