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Independence – Good or Bad

Quote from Robert HoldenI am currently reading a book called Shift Happens by Robert Holden and this paragraph jumped out at me.

“From a distance, the independent person cuts a striking pose. To be independent looks like power, and true strength.  But it isn’t. Independence is not a strength it is a wound.  Independence is inspired not by love, but fear, and not by wholeness but aloneness.  Independence is the ego’s attempt to be its own god.  It is a form of arrogance that leads to much despair.  The independent person always runs out of juice.” 

From – Shift Happens by Robert Holden Ph.D.

It really made me stop and think.  I had always believed that being independent was a good thing and something that we should all strive for.  To have someone write that independence was a wound was a bit confronting.  I thought I would see what others thought about this.

I posted the excerpt on facebook to see what response I got.  Did people agree or disagree with the statement?  The feedback that I got was interesting, some of the comments were:

  • To me independence is about survival but I don’t see it as a weak thing
  • I’ve always strived to be independent but have often fallen short in some way
  • We need each other, we need to be inter-dependent rather than independent. Independence can lead to isolation and lack of emotional growth if we don’t keep it in check
  • There is nothing wrong with being independent, but by the same token, sharing a life is much more fun. That said, financial independence certainly provides freedom, just in case

As you can see lots of different thoughts on what independence means to different people.

What do I think about independence?

I have always considered myself an independent woman, someone who could do most things on my own.  But I realise that the independence that I created was often more as a barrier that stopped others from getting too close.  Independence meant that I was in control (or so I thought), no one could do it better than me.  This was all fear based, it was all about my ego and yes it probably was a wound rather than a strength.

On the other hand, over the past few months I have seen my husband lose his independence due to his illness.  There were times in hospital that he could not even do the most basic things for himself, it was very hard to watch a once strong and independent man to be so dependent on others.  He definitely had to let go of his ego to allow others to help him.  As he grows stronger each day he is striving to get some of his independence back, honestly this has been a bit challenging for me because for some reason I want him to be dependent on me for a little while longer (more about that in another blog).

What I realise is that independence is not totally bad, but it is not good either.  It really depends on why you want to be independent.  If it is to maintain some level of control, then this is fear and ego based and can lead to burnout or running out of juice.  Being independent so that you can do things for yourself and not be dependent on others to meet your basic needs, this comes from loving yourself and living a full life.

Living within an open society or village where everyone is inter-dependent on each other but still able to make independent decisions from a place of love seems to be the ideal that many of us are looking for.  Share in the comments below what you think about independence, is it good or bad?  I would love to hear your thoughts.


Infinite Love and Gratitude



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