The Interdependent–Finding Your Balance

Which personality fits the best?
Do you see yourself as a dependent or independent person?
Do you find that you need others to validate your existence, or are you more comfortable doing your own thing without the support (or interference) of others?
Is your first priority to meet the needs of others or,
Do your needs come first?

As you answered these questions, did you see yourself in both categories? Good. A mentally healthy person strives toward interdependence. Interdependence means that you need others, but clearly you can do things on your own. If you are independent, you make special efforts to set time out for yourself to meet your own personal needs despite the busy hectic schedule of the day. You are able to give and to receive from others. You should receive at least 40% of the time in relation to what you give.

Do you fit the profile of a person who gives to others but gives little back? The best way to increase that percentage is to give to yourself. The healthiest moms carve out time to exercise, practice a hobby, read or explore. The most successful CEOs let nothing interfere with their personal time, whether that takes the form of reflection, prayer, running or golf.

What I self-disclosed in my first column that I exercised almost two hours a day, it generated many e-mails asking how I found the time, and some questioned whether I was being busy. People shared how hectic their days were with the many people who depended on them, like their kids, parents or co-workers. One woman wrote me a six-page e-mail describing her exhaustive life, and I was clearly tired after reading it. I thought to myself, “In the time it took to send me that e-mail you could have gone for a fifteen-minute walk or stowed yourself away from the kids to read, draw or needlepoint.” My guess is that she has not trained herself to take care of herself. Her responsibilities are so great that she doesn’t feel worthy of prioritizing time to take care of her.

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