In the United States, the Fourth of July is a Federal holiday to commemorate the Declaration of Independence, a document signed on 4th July 1776. On that day, America secured its autonomy from Great Britain. One can only imagine the seriousness of such a decision. Today, it’s a day of celebration when parades take place, people get together with family and friends to commune, eat, drink and watch fireworks displays.

On this day, I also reflect on what how my relationship to independence has changed over the years. For most of my adult life, I thought of myself as being fiercely independent. I often wore it as a badge of honor believing that I needed to do life on my own. Being independent was part of my identity so, the idea of asking for help, even if I needed and wanted help, was very difficult for me. Besides thinking that asking for help was a sign of weakness, I felt people would think I was incompetent and needy. Worse yet, I was afraid they wouldn’t come through for me even if I did ask. With this kind of self-talk, it’s not surprising that being self-sufficient was the only way I felt I should handle my life. Then came a series of circumstances that challenged the sense of independence I revered.

After some twenty years as a freelance consultant, business started trailing off. No matter what I did, no projects were coming in. I was at a loss. Nothing seemed to be working for me. As the months went by, I began to feel like a failure, questioning my ability to generate business, wondering where I had gone wrong and what I should have done differently to prevent this from happening. I was feeling anxious and insecure about this turn of events in an area of my life that I had always felt so confident. The irony was not lost on me—work was the one area in my life where I felt independent and almost invincible. I have since discovered that my career was a source of my self-worth.

Through The Freedom Zone Inquiry, I became aware that being independent was a façade—it was how I covered up feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and lack of self-worth. I realized projecting an aura of independence reflected more Self-Loathing than a healthy self-sufficiency.

By applying the choices of Presence (being aware of the negative things I repeatedly say to myself and noticing the feelings, emotions and actions that arise from this type of self-talk) and Vulnerability (no longer hiding behind a façade to emotionally protect myself), I began to see that being independent was an option and didn’t have to be my automatic go-to position. With this perspective, I was able to shift from self-blame and self-condemnation and put my attention on coming up with new ways to handle my present situation.

My action plan included asking everyone in my network for referrals; reconnecting with clients I had worked with in the past; offering my services to other marketing companies and independent consultants. These collaborative efforts breathed new life into my business, which has expanded into new, exciting and fulfilling territories.

Now I view living as an interdependent experience which I think is beautifully summed up in this quote by Taro Gold:

“Everything, including all people, exists through relationships with other people or things. Nothing exists in isolation or absolute independence. No person, or thing can arise of, for, or by its own accord. Everything is interdependent.”
Do you avoid asking for help even if you need it? We invite you to comment in the box below.