Posted by: njs44 | January 12, 2010

Independence

What constitutes the ideal when it comes to modern man? Someone who is resourceful, intelligent, able to profit from their experiences, thoughtful of the needs of others, highly motivated, good at multi-tasking, organised, efficient, independent, creative…. I could go on, drawing adjectives from a whole list of worthy terms to describe the kind of person many aspire to be. But is that really how we are meant to be?

So many people think they have failed when they do not live up to such ideals. People who, like me, have already broken their New Year Resolutions. I can blame the snow for putting paid to my resolve to get more exercise. I am lucky to be able to get out of the house at all, never mind doing brisk walking. Brisk walking on these pavements and I would soon end up immobilised by a broken limb.

But is independence all it is cracked up to be? Should we not be seeking more dependence? Isn’t it better to acknowledge our need for others? When I need someone, and let them know that I need them, I give them a gift. I give them the chance to show that they care, the chance to feel valued. When I allow myself to depend on someone else I allow them to shine. When I admit I am not indefatigable, I allow someone else to take over, to take responsibility, to grow.

What is difficult is getting the balance right, but recognising our vulnerability and admitting our weakness opens up many possibilities for interdependence. Those who work with people with disabilities have known this for a long time. They know how people with disabilities give them gifts every day. They know how people with disabilities reveal depths of care and love they did not know existed. They know how people with disabilities turn the ordinary world upside-down and allow revelation through dependency.

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