On this fourth of July, I’m thinking a lot about interdependence.
I’ll tell you a little (soon-to-be-former) secret:
I have been dealing with a problematic home situation for some time now.
I won’t go into all the hows and whys of my particular challenges, but suffice it to say it was time to make that sh*t a priority.
My stuff—and my life—just aren’t working optimally in the space I have!!
Instead of feeling warm, cozy, inviting, and open, my home has been feeling cramped, squished, blocked, and totally not aligned with my otherwise thirtyawesome life.
I’ve never been blessed with strong spatial imagination skills.
While I consider myself a very creative person, I am not someone who walks into a physical space and immediately sees the optimal arrangement or the possibilities.
After too long living in this draining environment, it became clear:
I need help.
Ten years ago, I never would have wanted to let anyone in—literally—to see my problem. My true, imperfect self.
I used to feel so much shame about exposing what I felt was my inability to “get it together” in an area of my life.
But a lot has changed.
Now, when I have a challenge, I do something that used to be really hard for me:
I allow people to help me.
So when I decided it was time to make my home the warm, inviting, happy place I know it wants to be, I asked myself: who do I know who has strong spatial visualization and organization skills?
Who do I know who, if s/he lived here, would have it whipped into rad shape in no time?
Then I invited one of those friends into my space…and I asked her to help me.
I asked her to imagine this was her space. What would she do? What would she get rid of? What would she move where?
“You don’t have to be careful with my feelings,” I advised. “I am totally open and I want to know what you really think.”
And I actually meant it!
With my friend’s fresh perspective, I was able to make a major change the very next day.
Opening up to my friend opened up an opportunity for a seemingly small shift that made a big difference in my life.
And I have another friend lined up to come over next week and offer her design perspective (and, possibly, her drill know-how).
It may not seem like a huge deal to an outsider, but this whole experience made me realize just how far I’ve come.
I exposed my (literally) messiest self, and trusted my friends to see me just as I am.
I neeeeeeever would have done this a decade ago.
I would never have wanted to be so exposed in all my imperfection—or to impose on my friends by asking them for help.
I am only able ask for help because I’ve learned to cultivate healthy interdependence.
I love and respect myself enough that in admitting and exposing my less-than-Better-Homes-and-Gardens situation, my self-worth isn’t on the line.
I have lots of strengths…and interior design just isn’t one of them.
Helping, and letting ourselves be helped, is essential for a happy life. I have come to believe that asking for and accepting help and support is one of the most courageous things you can do.
Interdependence is a non-negotiable truth of being human.
Whether you like it, admit it, accept it, or not, you are dependent on others in some way, shape, or form.
So what gets in our way when it comes to healthy interdependence?
Acknowledging and accepting your interdependence can feel really, really vulnerable.
It’s totally understandable to have the instinct to protect yourself from that vulnerability! Instead of leaning into interdependence, many of us try to avoid it altogether.
When defending ourselves against interdependence, I find that people tend to fall into two camps: the fiercely independent and the co- or uber-dependent.
Setting up camp in either of those places gets in our way of developing the truly satisfying, fulfilling, and healthy relationships and connections we’re capable of.
So how do you develop healthy interdependence?
I’m glad you asked. 🙂
I was so excited about this topic that I did a whole show on it.
For tips on how to recognize and break through your own blocks to interdependence, listen to the recording of my radio show Declaring Interdependence with The Thirtysomething Coach on the Life Coach Radio Network. Tune in by clicking this link.
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Have questions after listening to the show? Leave a comment or send me an email.
In honor of the FIFTH of July, declare your interdependence! Interdependence is an essential, but sometimes scarily vulnerable, part of being human. Join me as we explore interdependence in partnerships, friendships, families, professional relationships, and dating. We’ll discuss what interdependence is and how it relates to and differs from independence and codependency. You’ll learn some of the common blocks to embracing and living in healthy interdependence, and you’ll get concepts and tips that will help you cultivate an interdependent mindset and improve your own relationships. Listen here.
Photo by The Lenswoman