Monday, December 21, 2009

Independence--An All Year Gift


What a semester it has been! This past weekend I had a chance to relax at home for a bit and witness the Sullivan Christmas decorating process for the 22nd year. Quite exciting, be watching for a reality show on it someday in the future. J

It would be appropriate for me to write a blog about the true meaning of Christmas, and the precious gifts we can give to one another at no expense. However, many of us already know these Christmas lessons, and lately there has been a re-occurring thought on my mind I would like to address: -->

What is the balance of being too dependent or too independent?

In the past few weeks I have had two dear friends come to be upset because of their tremendous dependence on another. So dependent on this other person that they can’t seem to function without them there by their side. Not one, but both of these friends used these exact words: “Becky, right now I am just not happy. I want to be happy again.”

Do you know anyone in this same situation? Or perhaps you can relate. Not being comfortable being alone, always wondering what that other person is doing, not thinking your capable to go grocery shopping or to get gas on your own. All of these are thoughts, feelings, and daily concerns of an individual who is dependent.

As college students we are vaulted into a world on our own. Some people handle it better than others. Everything from your personality type and the way you were nurtured by friends and family add up to equal you ability to be independent. Occasionally tragic events in our lives force us to be dependent on another verses independent.

There are many different definitions of independence. Here is one that I thought described it well:

“Emption from reliance on, or control by, others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one's own affairs without interference.” –

We may all interpret the above definition differently, however I view it as being able to make your own choices, and guide your own journey in life based on your passions.

Now is dependence an ok characteristic to have? Of course, there is nothing wrong with having someone close to you who you trust to confide in and seek advice. As a matter of fact, having those few people in your life to be your “rock” is much needed! There is such a thing as being TOO independent just as there is a person who is too dependent. If someone were to guess which of the two I am, it would be quite simple. If you know me I am quite an independent person.

Traveling alone, making decisions to spend a summer with strangers during a summer internship doesn’t frighten me a bit. I know what I am called to do in the short-run, and I confidently pursue that calling. However, there is most definitely room for me to grow as well in being vulnerable with others. I am used to being a rock, and I like it that way. However, some days I can understand the desire to not be the strong one, and just let your frustrations out.

So how do we find a balance? My two friends that came to me come from the exact opposite side of the spectrum as myself. Now I am NO expert, but here is the advice I gave them:

Dependent people wanting to be more independent:

1) 1) What is it you are truly passionate about? What drives you? Think about it, and write it down.

2) 2) What type of person do you want to be? Once you have that picture, make a list of how you WILL become that person. What goals will you set for yourself?

3) GET OUT THERE!!! If you sit at home, you will not be happy. Put yourself in the uncomfortable setting of meeting new people, and eventually you will become used to it—possibly even make some good new friends from the experience.

4) Do something by yourself, and enjoy! Go to a coffee shop and read a good book. Go grocery shopping or to get gas, on your own. If you really want a challenge, eat out with…you guessed it, just you! Enjoy some reflection time and doing something because you want to.

When it comes to someone like myself, perhaps too independent at times, here is some simple advice. Seek out a few good friends you trust, and let your guard down! It sounds easy, however I know how hard that can be. There is a handful of people who know what I struggle with—however they keep me going when the going gets tough.

During this Christmas season, take time to think about your independence. You have freedom, a priceless gift from God. Use it! Take life by the horns and go after your dreams, key word is your.

Have a blessed Christmas, and I look forward to hearing what you accomplish in the future