Illustration by Kristy Lynn
Compassion is a wonderful leading star for the world to make a profound change and I welcome all the different initiatives working towards this. It is time to realise that we have for centuries made life difficult for each other in the name of progression.
So in this post I will try to shine a light on an aspect I have meditated over for a little while; the difference between codependence and interdependence. Let’s find the space where we allow each other to grow and learn through love and healthy interactions.
Interdependence is the opposite of codependence. With codependence, there is an energy loss for at least one of the participants. In interdependence, there is energy gain (or at least neutrality) for all persons involved. Where codependence is about looking to someone else or some thing as a source of validation, acceptance, or safety; an interdependent person looks within themselves first but welcomes external sources (of the same) as a healthy complement to life. And, while our codependent parts view relationships as investments: if I do this, I will get that; our interdependent parts invest in relationships. In interdependence we know that relationships are alive and require nurture, boundaries and, above all, a healthy dose of self respect.
I define interdependence as staying true to one self while living harmoniously in community; having boundaries that are firm yet flexible; and knowing when and how to give help but also knowing when to say no. It is also about the occasional sacrifices where you do over extend yourself to another (i.e. taking care of a sick friend) but do so with consciousness and compassion (not martyrdom) with the knowledge of when to pull back before it negatively affects your own health, family or financial state.
Interdependence is a creative and conscious response to life that energises and fulfills. Codependence is an unconscious (yet creative) reaction that ultimately drains and frustrates. So, while we all may manifest codependent behaviour at one time or another, the thing I want to ask today is how were you interdependent?