Finding a Middle Ground Between Independence and Control Freak
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Finding a Middle Ground Between Independence and Control Freak

It’s July, and what better time of year to ponder the benefits and drawbacks of independence versus dependence?

I came to think of my own lack of dependence on others the other night when I reloaded the dishwasher after the kids loaded it. Why could I not let that go? (I have also re-made beds and re-fluffed pillows.)

As much as I resist it, I heartily endorse the benefits of dependence on others to do a fine job without me. But “dependence” gets a bum rap… you’ll be hard-pressed to find any support for “dependence” among famous quotations. I had to go to “interdependence” to find anything that didn’t sound like the plague. And as for images of dependence, lots of bottles and needles.

What is your personal M.O. — are you more of a do-it-yourself’er at all costs (“Independent or bust!”), or are you pretty comfortable leaning on people? Is being too INdependent keeping you from other meaningful pursuits? Is being too DEpendent keeping you from spreading your wings?

To see where you sit – and it may vary among tasks – do a gut check:

  • When you delegate – Do you feel beholden to someone else or free to do other things?


  • When you take on a project yourself – Are you frustrated that it wasn’t done as well as someone else could have done it, or are you invigorated that you took on something new?


If you want to grow a bit more DEpendent…

  • Let the kids load the dishwasher, make the beds, find the groceries, tidy for a party — and don’t redo it!


  • Let your spouse buy the birthday gifts — and know that they’re just fine (if not quite age- or gender-specific)


  • Hire someone to do home repairs — if you know it’s not your bailiwick


  • As you meander through your day, ask yourself who instead of (maybe not “better than”) you can handle various tasks — and then let them!


And a few ways to be more INdependent…

  • Look up a computer fix on YouTube before summoning help


  • Google or search for how-to’s


  • Take a moment of “independence” from the day’s to-do’s and do something for yourself


  • Allow yourself 10 minutes of frustration wading into something new before beckoning an expert


Happy INdependence Day to you! (And Happy DEpendence Day, too, when appropriate…)

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