I've always been an independent person. Even when I was young, I remember telling my parents I wanted to do things by myself, and on my own. I think independence is a good thing, especially in a day and age where you often have to be. I mean I began my own business when I couldn't find work in grad school, I became an independent sales rep for a food company when I was having trouble finding work here in Denver. I'm finding ways to make ends meet, I'm attempting to pull myself up, and I'm doing these things on my own for the most part.
Can a person be too independent though? This is a thought I've had for a while now as more and more people have been telling me I've become distant. I've thought this as I realize I don't get invited out by people anymore. And I've thought this a lot as I look back at my previous romantic relationships. Sure I can provide for myself, I can take care of myself, I can do what I have to do...but it's sure nice to share the load. Have I become too independent for my own good?
For so long I haven't had a choice, I've had to do things for myself. Being away from my family, and many of my friends meant that when I got sick I had to make my own tea. When my car's battery died, I had to either find someone willing to give me a jump, or call AAA myself. When the trash needed taken out when it was snowing, I had to take it out. I've only had myself to rely on for a long time. When people ask to do these things for me, I find it weird, because I've had to do it myself. And often when they don't do it the same way I would have it's hard for me to see. So letting go of some things that I've been doing for so long, can be difficult.
I was recently told that one of the reasons a past relationship fell apart, was because as we both dealt with a difficult situation I turned into myself for comfort, when they tried to comfort and share their pain with me. Now this was not the only one reason that this relationship fell apart, trust me there were other reasons too. It made me think though, how many people have I unintentionally hurt, and turned away, who were trying to help me, and I was being my independent self not seeing their offer.
Don't get me wrong, the idea of not having all the weight on my shoulders is a nice idea, but very difficult for me to grasp. It would be nice to have someone to take care of me, friend, family, significant other, etc., but the concept is foreign to me so when people try, I guess I inadvertently push them away. Does this make me too independent? Am I too set in my ways? Can I change?
My paternal grandmother was a rather independent woman. She divorced her husband in a time when divorce wasn't acceptable, and she never remarried. She supported herself, and my father in a career that was male dominated. But growing up I noticed things like her lack of social relationships, her strict ways things had to be done, and her her general "Curmudgeon-ness" as my family referred to it as. I swore that I never wanted to be like her in those ways, I wanted to not only enjoy life, but enjoy the people I spent it with, and be flexible. Part of me now fears that I'm becoming exactly like her.
I know people can change, and I'm hoping I can change. I just don't even know where to begin this time. I guess when you have a fear of being so far on one end of the spectrum and being totally reliant on others, you may take things too far and become too independent instead.