By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist
They say (whoever they are) that the sky is the limit, but even falling from 15 feet can put you out for a few weeks. They also say the only limitation is yourself, however with everything in life being situational, it’s hard to back up that statement. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe we have more control than most allow ourselves credit for, but there are times when life takes the opportunity to humble us.
For instance, you might think “I can climb that,” and you might be able to. But what happens when you fall? Can you live with the consequences? (To be blatantly honest, I am talking about breaking my ankle, if you hadn’t guessed.) But the consequences I am talking about is not the physical ramifications, but the mental and emotional humbling results of the healing process. With not much to do other than to sit around, my mind has had the privilege of waging war with itself, and eventually coming to a peace treaty.
Like why do I feel the urge to be so independent? Experiences in my life had forced me into that mindset, but I have to stop and think: What is wrong with being dependent?
From the moment we are born, we are dependent on others. I know I didn’t come from the womb walking, talking, and providing for myself. And I am no doctor, but I have a feeling most of us did not. So, from our first breath of air, and for many years, we rely on others to provide for us, to protect us, to support us. Then as we grow, we desire to attain independence, but the question is: why? What do we have to gain during those years that is better than the love of someone else?
As we approach our final years in old age (for those of us lucky enough to make it that long), we regress into needing others to help care for us. Perhaps we can’t work and provide for ourselves, or maybe we can’t care for ourselves physically. In many situations, it is family that helps care for the elderly, should the person be lucky enough to have family that cares enough to do so.
Somewhere in between our childhood years and our elderly years, we try to attain independence, and while it seems to be a noble pursuit, remaining co-dependent is not inherently bad in itself. So why does nobody want to be that friend who is ‘needy’?
Maybe because co-dependence is a sign of weakness, or perhaps because our societal stigma dictates that co-dependence should be perceived that way. Nobody expects a newborn to be potty trained at birth, and nobody faults an elderly person for not being able to be physically able to do what a 20-year-old can. So why is it weak for an adult to admit co-dependence?
I come to this realization after a weird train of thought. Now, I have no shame in saying I am emotionally dependent on my wife. Seeing her walk in the door makes me happy, and she is one person I can pour out my heart and soul and talk to about anything that is bothering me. However, the thought of co-dependence bothers me when I need her to do something for me because my ankle is broken. Is it a sense of physical dependence that causes me to feel helpless? If so, what is wrong with being physically dependent?
Co-dependence is not a sign of weakness. Whether we like to admit it or not, we do need others in our lives. We can choose the degree of how much we allow others to impact us, but the ego should not allow us to go without necessities based on societal stigmas. We can admit we need others or not, and nobody should guilt us if we do. After all, needing others is a part of life, and the only shame in that is what you allow yourself to feel.
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