Did you know there is something called dysfunctional independence? It almost sounds like a conflict in terms doesn’t it? Yet anything taken to an extreme can become a dysfunction. Many of us go through life with our shoulders bent with the burdens of others. We perseverate on all the details of making everything work out for them. After all, no one will do it as well as we and furthermore we don’t want to appear weak – as if we can’t do it right? So we go through life doing more, working harder and harder and even losing sleep wondering how we are going to keep all the balls in the air. We may even find ourselves missing the joy in life because, after all – we think to ourselves – there is no one else to rely on so we must continue to worry about all the tomorrows in our life as well as the lives of others. If we have lived life with frequent disappoint or people not carrying their weight of the load it is easy to fall into the trap of dysfunctional independence. If we find ourself in this mindset from time to time we need to stop and realize that pure ego is at work here. We may have become so used to doing everything ourselves that to ask for help may be the most difficult thing in the world to do – beyond humbling – maybe even a tad embarrassing. After all, we think, ‘I should be able to fix this situation myself.’ Therein lies the lesson doesn’t it?
This is where the Universe steps in and says, ‘well you have not learned the lesson of grace or humility so it is time for an even tougher circumstance to be presented to you so you can finally learn it.’ Presto … the next circumstance seems to literally take our breath away and if we are lucky we might finally call ‘uncle’ and ask for help. This is what is meant by the saying that first God whispers, then speaks and may even have to shout to finally get our attention. The challenges and problems come in so fast and in so many different forms – but at the root have the same thing in common .. the lesson WE need to learn. Once we humble ourself enough to ask for help in dealing with the situation it seems to all get sorter out. We learn a higher level of trust and partnership by becoming interdependent. Who knows, we may be able to return the favor at some time in the future.
We come to the major ‘Aha’ in our lives. It is NOT up to us to do it all. There are others who are willing to lend a hand if treated with appreciation and respect. Only one thing changed in this new scenario – our attitude and belief that we are not ‘Captain of the World’ and we admitted needing help like everyone else. A huge weight seems to be lifted off our shoulders and we take a deeper breath finally exhaling a little of the stress that we have been carrying. We begin to think about the hundreds of other times when we needed help but were, sad to say, to proud to ask for it. Pride like many things can be positive or negative it depends on the the way and extent it is used.
If dysfunctional independence is limiting us, holding us back from all that we could be the question we need to wrestle with is – are we strong enough to admit that we need help? Do we really believe we can be too independent? I think it is not only possible but maybe even probable. The good news is that once we understand that it is a DYSfunction we can choose to do something about it.
Have a great few days!