A woman mentoring a younger woman.

Are You More Independent or Interdependent?

I have learned from other people’s mistakes all my life. I have looked at what didn’t work, at what hurt myself and others, and said, Nope! Not gonna do that! And there has been value in learning from other’s mistakes. However…

It was harder for me to learn from what people did right.

What’s up with that? Pride? Stupidity?

Honestly, I think there was some kind of twisted thinking that came from my dad’s experience to Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Nobody is going to do it for you!

He went a long way in life with that mentality, but in my mind that translated to not looking to anyone for help. Ever. Just figure it out yourself. That seemed like the “right” way to do it. Don’t “bother” other people. To apply good lessons others had learned felt like cheating.

It’s funny that my own personal experiences turned that thinking around for me.

I have had the privilege to mentor a fair number of people in my lifetime. I have poured into them the lessons I have learned from doing both right and wrong. And it was truly eye-opening when I realized I didn’t feel like they were cheating me when they took what I shared and used it to help themselves. Not only did it not feel like cheating, it felt wonderful. It was an honor to help others sidestep land mines that had blown up parts of my world. Ok. Sometimes they were potholes instead of land mines, but it feels good to help others not tear up a tire, too! You get the picture. I realized if I enjoyed seeing others navigate well what had tripped me up, then other people might enjoy helping me do the same.

Sure, sometimes we fall and have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. That’s admirable. But other times we fall, and someone is there to lend a hand, help us up, and show us how to move past the fall to a higher level. That is more than admirable. That is both humbling and honoring. It is mentoring.

Do you find it hard to ask for help? Hard to accept it even when it’s offered? For those who answer yes, I understand. But how is that working for you?

We aren’t meant to do life on our own.

Interdependence done right is far more rewarding than independence.

Independence utilizes your strengths but can be limiting and lonely.

Interdependence utilizes your strengths alongside the strengths of others, creating a bonded community and opportunities that aren’t possible on your own.

I like the way Ecclesiastes says it:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls, one can help the other up…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

Remember with Loud is Not a Language® we are most often not talking about loud volume. Loud is an attitude more than anything. An attitude of I know best, I don’t need your input, and that attitude is not a sustainable language to relationships, families, or careers.

Have you softened your loud?

If not, are you ready to?

Are there others you have not only learned from, but linked shields with?

How has that benefitted you?

Give honor where honor is due. I sure would love to hear about your interdependent journey!

Brenda Harkins is a believer in impossible possibilities. In brokenness becoming beautiful. In justice and mercy and honor and power – with love perfecting them all. As a Speaker, Author, Mediator, and Professional Coach, Brenda is highly focused on the power of communication. Her confidence, clarity, and courage to transform challenges into victories were the catalyst for creating Loud Is Not A Language®, a communication model that is actually a challenge to transform you. Become more you. Building strong, resilient, respectful relationships at the same time.