For many people, their determination to be independent and free of society’s directives is their highest goal. In fact, they may be limiting themselves from creating something even greater through interdependence and cooperating with others.
In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey described the Maturity Continuum. He explains that we are all born as infants who are totally dependent on others. As we mature, we learn to become physically, mentally, emotionally and financially independent. It is the mindset of “I can do all by myself. I can choose what I do.” But that is not where we stop developing. Humans are social creatures who are stronger when we work together as a group whether that group is as a couple, a family, a business or a community.
Interdependence is a natural state of being since we are all part of the One Life that is God expressing Itself through each one of us as individuals and as groups. Even so, an independent person must feel enough inner confidence to choose to respond to their fellow humans with love rather than fear. Otherwise, our fear and insecurities may cause us to blindly protect ourselves from other people by building a protective shell of separation.
Interdependence is most powerful when each person is a strong, independent individual who also appreciates the gifts that other people bring to a situation. As individuals co-create together, humankind often attains its highest levels of achievement. Think of a symphony orchestra. Each musician, each violinist, each flutist, each trumpeter, each cellist, each oboist, each drummer, practices and practices until they are masters of their instrument and the music. When they come together under the guidance of a Master Conductor, however, their joint performance elevates the musicians and the audience even higher as the music pours forth with love, beauty and joy. For the orchestra – as for all people – we is greater than me. We can go further together