Dependent, Independent or Interdependent?



As children, we are dependent on the adults around us for almost everything. Slowly as the child grows up, the sense of wanting to be independent takes root. The grown-up child no longer wants to hold the hands of his parents, he wants to groom on his own. As the children move into adolescence, a greater degree of freedom is demanded and most times are given. The teenager does not like being dropped to school (If at all you insist on dropping, “Can you drop me off one lane before school, I would like to walk from there?”), they don’t want to go along with their parents for ‘family functions’ and would prefer to shop and entertain on their own. All for the good as the individual discovers that there are a lot of things that he can do on his own.

When we come into the adult world, we carry forward this notion that we have to be independent. Some want to carry it to the extent that “I want to be independent of everyone”. In the adult world sometimes the notion of being dependent is taken as a weakness. Is it really a weakness? Can we really be totally independent? Is that in tune with reality?

You lean on me, I lean on you

It is true that there are some areas of our life where we can be independent and we should be. But at the same time, there are many areas where we are dependent on others around us and it is good to acknowledge that and not feel bad about it. While we are dependent on others, they are also dependent on us for certain things. The person going out to earn would not be able to do so in peace if there was no one to run the family and home in an organized manner. The person running the home would not have the comforts and security if someone did not take charge of earnings. Both the jobs are equally important and complementary. There is nothing like a completely independent person in this world unless they are staying on an isolated island. The notion of independence has been stretched and the idea of dependence has got negative connotations around it.

For each of us to get through our life we are dependent on some immediate family members, some friends and hundreds of unknown people. Our life would not be the same if some of our family members did not do the things they do around us. Our life would not be the same if our friends, colleagues and neighbours did not contribute to them. Our lives would definitely be more difficult if hundreds of unknown people did not do their jobs around us.

Overdoing independence

While independence is a great notion to have and needs to be encouraged wherever it can be implemented, it is important to understand that we live in an interdependent world. Being dependent is not a curse or an ugly thing unless the other person misuses our dependence.

We are dependent on others for certain things in life and they are dependent on us for certain other things too. Perhaps we can look at reducing the brightness of the halo around independence and embracing interdependence.

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