A lot of people are talking these days about how it’s better to not depend on anyone—to be “fiercely independent.”
As a life coach and retreat host, a common complaint I hear from my clients is that they feel weak for needing help, advice, or support. Another (I think quite related) complaint I hear is that people feel very alone.
There are 62,900,000 Google search results for “how to be more independent.”
#NeedNoOne has been hashtagged 7,913 times, #FiercelyIndependent 3,565 times, #DoItAlone 3,164 times and #BeIndependent 41,444 times, while #DependOnOthers has only 35 hashtags, #AskYourTribe has only 10, and #NeedOthers has only 60.
wikiHow advises that “being independent is a vital skill for people who want to take more control of their lives and feel like they don’t need others to accomplish their goals. Being more independent will give you the freedom to do what you want without caring what others think.”
It seems that we have begun to conflate independence with freedom. Why don’t we talk more about the freedom that comes from knowing that you can safely rely on others? That you can always ask for help when you need it?
I theorize that the absence of this positive framing of codependence is because capitalism commodifies and profits off of invulnerability and tries to tell you that if you buy enough things, you won’t need anyone and can’t get hurt.
The more beautiful, popular, rich, and successful you become, the less you will need any one person in particular. If you can buy your way to having people fall all over you, they become interchangeable.
As Sebastian Junger states in his book Tribe, “Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.”
I will not buy into the modern day societal agreement that independence is superior to being dependent on others.
I want to depend on others. I need to depend on others.
So what about empowered dependence?
It’s okay to need people. No one is doing this alone.
Why is the person who calls her mom crying seen as weak while the person who sucks it up and holds it in is considered strong?
Screw that. I need help all of the time. I still need mommy and daddy.
I need my boyfriend to stop what he’s doing and sing me silly songs when I’m overwhelmed. I need wine nights with my besties on the regular. I need advice on pretty much every decision I make, and I need people to tell me I’m doing a good job. I need massages. I need encouragement. I need to break down sometimes.
This isn’t wrong.
In fact, my vulnerability, and my willingness to accept help and receive support is what makes me strong.
It takes a village. Allow yourself to need and be needed by your tribe.
Let’s be powerfully dependent upon each other.
Author: Brandilyn Tebo
Image: Video Still
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen