How’s it going? Since it is the weekend, you know you are in for a long read on the Pineapple Chicken Blog; so please sit back and relax with a hot drink 🙂 Today’s thought of the day is the concept of interdependence. This follows nicely from my previous blog about change and how I am trying to understand/look at my current relationship from a different perspective.
What is interdependence?
I started reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, admittedly, I have not gotten very far as I am finding it quite a difficult read, or possibly I am not in the right mindset for it? I might have to give up and try something else before going back to it. However, before I give up, I wanted to consider the concept of interdependence introduced in the book.
Covey explains that there is a Maturity Continuum which starts at
- Dependence – needing others to get what you want. This is the attitude of “you” – you take care of me, I need you.
- Independence – free from external influence and support. This is the attitude of “I”. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you.
The third and highest level in the Maturity Continuum is interdependence. … We live in an interdependent reality. Interdependence is essential for good leaders; good team players; a successful marriage or family life; in organisations. Interdependence is the attitude of “we”: we can co-operate; we can be a team; we can combine our talents. – Stephen Covey
Why is it so important yet so difficult?
I recognise that interdependence can be very difficult, it is often easy to revert back to the stage of independence because it is SO MUCH easier to manage one’s emotions and expectations; being selfish and not having to take into consideration someone’s feelings is a freedom. Regardless of how difficult it is, research shows that “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” – Robert Waldinger (see video below). Therefore, the data suggests that it definitely worth investing time into relationships. What holds me back is that is is a lot of hard work, but why is this the case?
Alfred Adler, a world-renowned philosopher and psychiatrist, stressed the need to understand individuals within their social context. He recognised that:
All Problems are Interpersonal Relationship Problems
This is definitely extreme, to say the least, but it does put the focus on the difficulty of moving up the maturity continuum. If you really think about it, what negatively impacts you the most? For me, a fight with my sister or my boyfriend has a significant impact on my positivity and wellbeing. There have been times where it is all I can focus on, regardless of how busy I am at work or have other things to do to distract me – it can be all-consuming.
Another book I started reading (and yet to finish) is The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga. This was the book that first introduced me to Adler and the theories resonated with me. For those who interested, there are bloggers who have also neatly summarised his theories.
What can I do?
I mean it is all well and good knowing that interpersonal relationships are important yet difficult. What can we do about it? What should I work on to have a happier relationship with others? I think a lot of it boils down to emotional intelligence. ( This topic is important/large enough to have its own future blog post!)
Alder states that you must separate your “life tasks” and do not get it mixed up with others. If you can’t control what other people think of you, why worry about it? For me, this seems to slip back into the concept of independence, which is at odds with what Stephen Covey encourages. Alder also believes that it is important to work on “self-worth” before being able to contribute to others.
Adler’s three pillars: Self-acceptance, confidence in others, and contribution to others reinforce each other in a positive feedback loop
I have yet to finish Stephen Covey’s book and interdependence is tackled under habits 4 to 6 out of the 7, as the first three also works on the “self” – you starting to see the loop?
- Habit 4 – Win/Win
- Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Habit 6 – Synergize
I am going to keep working at these habits and let you know how it goes. A great summary can be found here if you want to skip the book and straight to the key learnings.
Thank you for making it to the end. I would be interested to know whether you are familiar with Stephen Covey’s book or Alder’s theories, as always, I would love to hear from you and your experiences, so please do leave a comment below 🙂
With Sweet & Sour Love,
Pineapple Chicken x