Balancing Independence and Dependence

Do you have a good sense of the control you have over your life? Are you more independent and prefer making decisions on your own and living a lifestyle full of self-love? Are you more the opposite, tending to be dependent on others and preferring to do activities with others above doing things by yourself? 

These are questions that relate to your attachment style. Both dependence and independence have great benefits that help build character and strengths that make you who you are. However, there is a point where too much independence or dependence can deeply hurt yourself and others if it’s not balanced carefully. Finding the right balance between being independent and dependent can greatly improve your love for yourself and others, making the quality times you spend with each beneficial.

What to Do if You’re Too Independent

Significant traits of an independent person may include being confident, resourceful, and courageous. Some like to take initiative and have great leadership skills. Other highly independent people may experience social anxiety and therefore spend their alone time being more self-reflective, find comfort in being alone, and probably aren’t fans of working in groups. The situation varies from person to person. Whatever the case may be, independent people share the common factor of preferring to be in control of their life without the influence of others.

If this resonates with you, you may benefit from asking yourself why you choose to be so independent. Being independent can be completely healthy and a lot of great skills are gained from being so. However, if you find that your choice to be independent stems from a fear or avoidance issue, it may be time to consider how you can break this cycle to learn how to be more dependent.

Here are some things people struggling to depend on others can do to help:

  • Ask others for help:

    When you’re independent, you may get this sense that your approach is the only one that will work. However, getting input from others is a great way to broaden your perspective and become more open-minded

  • Avoid doing all of the work:

    Leadership is an important trait that not many people possess and it can be hard to manage at times. Working on tasks with those around you can help lift off some of the stress and pressure in situations where you need a team to complete something

  • Trust those around you:

    Being less independent gives you the chance to meet new people, discover their unique skills, and build deeper bonds with others. Trust that you can depend on others to do what they need to do without your interference. You may find that this trust helps you bond

What to Do if You’re Too Dependent

Being dependent means that you enjoy surrounding yourself with others and seeking advice and answers from them in times of need. Some dependent people might feel safer and more comfortable around others. Using others as resources is a great way to expand your horizons about the world in which we live and find help when you are having a difficult time knowing what to do.

Those who are dependent share a desire to have others to rely on. This can be good at times, but not so good at other times. If your dependency stems from a need to be around others to feel safe or due to a fear of not trusting your choices and decisions, it may be time to build trust with yourself.

Consider adjusting some of these things in your life to build trust with yourself and become more independent:

  • Expand your social group:

    Rather than abandoning your friend group completely in an attempt to be less dependent, broaden your social group to help ease you into this lifestyle

  • Take responsibility:

    Some dependent people fear making mistakes and feel they need others to tell them exactly what to do. Recognizing that humans are prone to errors can help you own up to mistakes that you may have made independently

  • Self-care:

    Be able to identify your own needs through


    . When you’re more in tune with yourself, you can have more confidence in yourself and your decisions

Finding the Perfect Balance

How do you know if you found the perfect balance between dependence and independence? One way to tell is that you will feel less tension when making decisions. Another is becoming equally comfortable working by yourself and with others. People who are typically too independent can learn to delegate tasks and trust others to complete them, or learn to enjoy the company of others as much as they enjoy their own company. Overly-dependent people can develop decision-making skills and become more confident in their ability to operate by themselves.

There’s nothing wrong with being more independent or more dependent. Both are good traits to have. When you can balance both sides and succeed regardless of whether you’re doing something by yourself or with others, your life can become significantly better.

Identifying solely as independent or dependent has its strength and weaknesses. Independent people have great assets that allow them to make quick and confident choices while dependent people can build great relationships with others. However, too much of either can quickly cause a downward spiral that leaves you with a void that is in desperate need of being filled. If you find yourself in a situation where your self-reliance and dependency on others are unbalanced and affecting your life, SokyaHealth provides professional mental health services from therapists and coaches trained to assist you in such situations. Coaching and counseling services are available in a convenient online platform to get you in a better standing in life where you can feel content with being around both yourself and others equally. For more information on our services, call Sokya at 800-930-0803.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

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