The Myth of Personal Independence Are You Falling For It?


Today my husband and I celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary and I want to devote this post to him. My husband Brian is my best friend and the strongest support that I have in life and I am very thankful to him for being here for me every day of the week, every minute of the hour.

Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.

George Bernard Shaw

Being independent is considered the biggest treasure that modern society has achieved. A lot of people build their lives on being independent and not needing anybody else. Strong independent women are marching along with strong independent men and they are raising strong independent children who do not need any help or support.

When I moved to the US I was shocked at how much independence was praised here. You can hardly find a 20-year old person still living with their parents (they prefer taking loans and getting credit to pay for their apartment because living with parents is considered so uncool). Women build their own careers forgetting about their husbands and children. Men treat their jobs like the most important part of their life because these jobs give them financial independence. A true friend is a person who you meet a couple of times a year when both of you have a few free minutes in your busy schedules.

To me independence sounds like a synonym to loneliness and depression (more than half of Americans state that they lack deep family bonds and this is the main reason for their depression and stress). I prefer to be happy and balanced rather than independent and depressed.

If you are looking for life balance then you should learn to ask for help and support. Having emotional support as well as help with everyday tasks and chores will do wonders for you. People are social creatures who need a community to bond with people around them. If everybody was truly so independent then we would have had a much higher rate of hermits living among us.

I have realized the true importance of help and support when I became a mom. In Ukraine (my native country) being a mom means that you receive support from everybody around you. My mom spent almost every evening at our house, playing with the babies and helping me with the everyday chores. My friends were always eager to go for a walk with me and the babies or to help when my husband was busy working (some of them were even willing to babysit at any time). Of course I am extremely happy to have a husband (he is an American) who understands my needs and with whom I have a very deep emotional bond. He is still my strongest support system. In Ukraine people feel comfortable asking for help and providing this help to one another and I have not noticed much of this in the US.

Independence might be really good for you if all you want in life is money, a spectacular career and appreciation from others. However, I do not think that you can become happy this way (at least I can’t). You can’t build a strong and happy family on independence. You can’t build a strong friendship. You can’t even build good relationships with your colleagues at work. What is the point of life then?

I want to give you one task. Think what area of your life is most unbalanced and what type of help or support can make you more balanced. (Do you need a friend who will help you stick to your workouts? Do you need help around the house? Do you need help making decisions and balancing out your thoughts?) Think of people who can help you and do not be afraid to ask them for help. Are you feeling better now? Next time offer your help to people you care about; do not assume that they want to be independent. Just show them that they can rely on you and find support in you. You will experience a deeper emotional bond with these people (whether they are your parents, friends, children or a partner) and your life will make so much more sense.

Keep it balanced!


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