What’s keeping us from sustaining healthy relationships

Do we need to be entirely self-reliant to thrive?

We need to be independent to thrive. We must be entirely self-sufficient to be able to call ourselves happy. And we should never rely on anyone else if we want to be successful. Or at least that’s how society undermines the value of healthy relationships.

Self-sufficiency, self-respect, and confidence are undeniably amongst the most sought features of a person’s character. When looking for a partner, many are drawn to those individuals whose aura beams independence and self-reliance. They want to be with someone who leads a healthy lifestyle, practices self-care, and knows the importance of self-love. Basically, they go for people who appear to have their life together without the help of anyone else.

When did it become so incredibly shameful to admit you want to be in a relationship with another human being? 

While striving for independence is indeed admirable, it shouldn’t be our only goal. We still need social connections to understand the value of trust, clemency, and compassion. However, many fail to consider the importance of bonding and condemn those who openly express their need to be emotionally involved with a romantic partner.

Elephant Journal writer Janis Isman explains:

“We tend to believe, as adults, that we need to be completely independent to thrive. It says a lot about how our nervous systems developed as children: when forced to be independent in our youngest ages, we learn it’s unsafe to rely on others.”

Eventually, we develop a mindset revolving around the idea that needing someone’s help is embarrassing. We prefer to face the challenges on our way all by ourselves because we fear we might appear weak in the eyes of others. Simultaneously, we think less of those who are not afraid to say they need someone else to feel complete.

But if we never allow ourselves to rely on anyone else, how would we comprehend the essence of empathy? 

Naturally, human beings are social creatures. We need to cooperate with other humans to grow. We need to be messy, vulnerable, and authentic to obtain a deeper understanding of our own emotions, needs, and perceptions of the world around us.

Sadly, today’s society emphasizes the idea that being self-sufficient is much more important than being genuine and kind. Self-love has become more valued than having love for and from others. Being content in solitude has become more appreciated than achieving happiness by nurturing relationships with other human beings.

The truth is that we shouldn’t even make such comparisons. If you want to be alone and it makes you happy, then be alone. If being in a relationship makes you feel complete, then do that. But don’t go out of your way to demonstrate extreme self-sufficiency only because society tells you to.

Instead of chasing independence, we might need to focus on practicing interdependence. 

Isman notes:

“We can benefit from learning the skills of communication, conflict management, assertiveness, authenticity, and togetherness.”

Interdependence, as explained by Merriam-Webster, is the state of being dependent upon one another. It requires an intimate social connection and a strong sense of compassion to be interdependent with another human being. Also, it requires courage to allow yourself to count on someone else.

So, instead of condemning those who are not afraid to say they desire to establish healthy relationships, we should applaud them. Because they are strong enough to unveil their souls and be vulnerable in front of another human being, which is something many of us fear.

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