By Paula O’ Sullivan
Most of us interact in only two ways in our relationships, either through a state of dependence or independence. We have not learnt that everything we seek is inside of us already. We are not aware of our inner power. We seek happiness outside of ourselves, in relationships, or in the accumulation of material possessions etc. Dependence on others or things to completely satisfy our needs can leave us very vulnerable, as our expectations invariably won’t get met a lot of the time. Independence means we don’t really seek out the help of others, we become kind of disconnected from each other, as we strive to meet our own needs only. But there is another way of being, it’s called interdependence.
Let’s compare the three ways of being in relationships.
Interdependence is a way of being and acting that takes into account your needs and at the same time cares about others’ needs, instead of trying to just please or ignore others’ needs.
Dependence is being guided by what others think or what they ask you to do, it’s about trying to please others without regard for what you want. Sometimes it can also be about what you will get from an interaction, as opposed to what you can give. This can build up great walls of anger and resentment.
Independence is, in a way, ignoring others and our coexistence, it’s about wanting to deal with everything on your own, and in your own way and not acknowledge a need for support.
With Interdependence, we strive for balance in all our interactions. We aim for ‘win /win’, i.e. both parties have their say, both parties get their needs met without compromise, or it’s a ‘no deal’. If we make a sacrifice, then the other party will also make one to balance the arrangement. With dependence and independence, most of us don’t really listen, we base what we hear from others on our own autobiographical experiences. With interdependence we seek first to really understand the wants and needs of others, before we try to be understood ourselves. We begin the dance of creative cooperation between each other. We begin to value our differences and respect each other’s uniqueness. We aim not to blame when things don’t work out, but seek instead to examine, the causes and effects of all behaviours involved, with each party accepting full responsibility for the part they have played.
Being interdependent with others becomes a balanced energy exchange, with neither party draining the other. Each stays true to their selves, and become involved without the demand that either should sacrifice their values or integrity. It paves the way for open communication and honesty. It creates a safe environment where both parties can become aware of their needs. We realize that we can’t change anyone, we can only change our behaviour, so we treat others as we’d like to be treated, and we won’t tolerate for long, not being treated with respect. We begin to view ourselves as already whole, balanced and complete, there is nothing to gain from anyone. Our interactions become a mutual giving, to enhance, not to fill a void. We create and maintain healthy boundaries, knowing how to give help, but also knowing when to protect our own energy and health by saying no.
Part 19 – Addicted
Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com