Are You Dysfunctionally Independent?

How to Tell

From a distance, the independent person cuts a striking pose. To be independent looks like power, freedom, and true strength. But it isn’t. Independence is not 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.

How do you know if you are being dysfunctionally independent? Here are a few telltale signs:

  • You are exhausted, because “superman” and “superwoman” insist on being self-sufficient.
  • You never ask for help. You are too proud, arrogant, scared, and anal to accept help.
  • You get a “Fail” for receiving. You never let anyone give to you. Intimacy is unfamiliar and scary. It is impossible to be independent and intimate.
  • You suffer from BMS-By Myself Syndrome. This is true of everything, even sex!
  • You look cool, but that is because you are cut off from your feelings.
  • You think being single is being free.
  • You feel lonely, and you are afraid of commitment.
  • You try to heal on your own. At best you might buy a self-help book, but you would never open up to another person.
  • You are in competition with everyone because you will not join with anyone.
  • Atheism is your revenge on God. You are disillusioned because God won’t see it your way.

Independence is unnatural and not clever. There are 6,000,000,000 people on the planet, and you are trying to “do” life on your own! There are 6,000,000,000 people in your backyard, and you say there is no one out there for you. There are 6,000,000,000 people here, and you won’t trust any of them. There are 6,000,000,000 people and you believe people are lucky if they make one or two good friends in life.

Believing you have to be independent is the ego pulling the wool over your eyes. Independence is unnecessary, and it does not work. Think about it! Even Robinson Crusoe had Friday. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. Even Superman had Lois. And Batman had Robin, Arthur had Merlin, Fred had Ginger, Bob had Bing, Scott had Zelda, Lennon had McCartney, Garfunkel had Simon, Starsky had Hutch, Thelma had Louise, Fred had Barney, Homer has Marge, Ben has Jerry, and Barack has Michelle. Got it?

So the key question is, when did you decide to become so independent? What are you afraid of? Who hurt you? Who let you down? When did you lose your faith? What are you defending against? Don’t answer these questions on your own! That would be being dys-functionally independent. Be open to some additional help and insight. Shift happens when you stop flying the flag of independence. You get your energy, your creativity, and your life back.

There is a better way than independence. Give yourself some time today to make a list of your “team.” By that, I mean everyone and everything that may potentially be a source of strength and inspiration. People have talents, strengths, and gifts you can’t see yet because you are not asking for help. Just imagine, maybe all of the universe is here to support you. Drop your cynicism. It is an old wound. Open up to life. Let people in. Let yourself be nourished and given to. This is true strength.

Excerpted from my book, Shift Happens

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