The curious case of being Independent and interdependent

A common thinking error that a lot of people make is to think in terms of black and white, yes or no, right or wrong.

It is basically to think in either one option or another option. These options are usually the extremes of each other. This error leads to a lot of internal stress, as very few things in life fit in these extremes. Life resembles more of a kaleidoscope of alternative that blend into each other. Therefore a better way of thinking is to allow all possibilities. Thinking that one option and the other option are viable and we just need to choose the most effective one.

One application of this inefficient thinking is when we think in terms of independence and interdependence.

A person who sees themselves as independent would describe themselves as individuals, typically saying things like “I am intelligent” and use “I” a lot.

People who see themselves as interconnected tend to see themselves as Interdependent. They would describe themselves in relation to others, for example “I am a mother”. They would use words like “we” or “us” a lot.

We tend to think we are either self-orientated or other orientated.  Research suggests that these two phenomena are not two poles of a continuum. Rather they each exist in their own right and that we have both phenomena’s as part of our make-up.  They function more like an equalizer in a music production. We are either high or low on the self-orientated and we are either low or high on the other orientation. This also implies that we can be high in both as well.

The question that comes to mind is: Have we been selling ourselves short? May it just be that we have been limiting ourselves to only two possibilities?

Maybe we should start to think of ourselves in interaction to other in terms of equalizing independence and interdependence to create the harmony we want in our relationships.

Interesting is it not?

Trying to harmonize

H

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