Back Off. I don’t need your help.
Which is the most pernicious lie of our culture and time. That we don’t need others. The unconscious philosophy that to really make it in this world, you need to achieve and your achievements are only worth their salt if traceable to ones sole efforts. Education experts will point out that often students negate good grades on group projects and elevate those in individual ones. Why? Because somewhere along the line the only things we get credit for are the ones we feel belong only to us.
Which is absurd, because all the things you’ve accomplished in this life, your success, has been dependent on others and many situations or experiences beyond your control I have more degrees than most people do, but that doesn’t necessarily reveal some independent quality in me such as intelligence, ambition, good planning skills, or endurance. People might assume that, but what they fail to recognize is that I was blessed with a 6th grade teacher who basically forced me to enter writing competitions. I happened to get a research fellowship when the previous peon went into rehab at Harvard and my Friday class was cancelled, thus aligning our schedules. I am successful because of many wonderful lucky breaks. Don’t get me wrong, those words do describe me well, but my success isn’t attributable to them.
Recent insight emerged that people are more lonely today than has been measured at any other time in human history. The article provided one explanation is that there are many more people living alone then ever before (we can afford to) and then points out that people are friend fishing on sites like Craigslist. They put up platonic ads like “come to the movies with me.” Why do you think that is?
I think in part we over-rely on ourselves to be “complete and fulfilled.” The single gal gags when hearing that line from Jerry McGuire…”You complete me!” Because that means I am not complete on my own. Shel Silverstein’s awesome book The Missing Piece conveys that message…that we don’t need others to be complete. To be perfect.
Well, pipe in all you married folks, but being partnered up doesn’t mean you feel complete or perfect at all. In fact, relationships only highlight your imperfections! Especially family relationships.
I think what I’ve come to realize is that others DO complete me. Which doesn’t mean that I am enough, I am sufficient, on my own. I like my me time…but I need you.
The current economic crisis, when people may be holding off on purchasing that new electronic gadget, or pursuing the library rather than buying a book at a mass bookstore, perhaps alleviates some of our dependency on being independent. Perhaps we’ll embrace our immediate community more and more. Perhaps Urban loneliness is a myth! What do you think?
But until then, some one’s got to eat these dips. Want to come over?