I grew up as the first child and daughter of the house. And as a growing woman, I constantly heard the phrases: “You shouldn’t be a liability to others”. ” Learn to be independent.” “Think for yourself.” These words moulded my perception of many things. I saw self-reliance and independence must-haves, and I wanted to be my own woman at all cost.
When I got into the University though, the game changed drastically because although I tried the method of independence I was accustomed to, things did not turn out as I expected. It dawned on me that to succeed in any phase of my life, I had to rely on people. I needed to plug into a community. It left me with mixed feelings but thankfully, I met an older friend who after listening to me rant (a lot), shared some insight.
Today, I am grateful I was able to relearn the purpose of interdependence.
The Role of Society
Beyond the home, society has also encouraged people to be independent, sometimes in very subtle ways. We often sing the praise of those who appear to be self-made or high achievers. Interestingly, there is a Yoruba have a saying ‘eniyan laso eniyan’ literally meaning humans are the coverings of humans. Essentially showing that as long as we’re human, we will always need others.
Think about your job and the requirement for you to be a team player. Think about the fact that you will always have to deal with people – stubborn, difficult ones. How do you surmount those challenges if you are used to working alone or being in your space? Some of the biggest breakthroughs of my life came as a result of my interaction with people and I am always grateful for the opportunities that interdependence has presented me.
It starts with you
I understand what it means to be an introvert. But learning to relate well with others is also a part of growth. A good place to start is with those close to us. Our siblings, family, colleagues at work. When we make the effort to work well with others, we increase our capacity for success and we also attract great people and relationships to our lives.