Written by Kelle Salle
Image by @teyanataylor
The song ‘Independent Women’ by Destiny’s Child championed self-sufficiency and encouraged women to live the life they wanted without having to ask anyone for help, especially the opposite sex. While the song’s message maintains a certain relevance two decades on, the reality is that independence can be taken to certain extremes. We live in a society that loves to tell us that we can be-it-all and do-it-all. The pandemic and the cost of living crisis hasn’t helped things as being isolated from our loved ones or not being able to afford to go out with friends will only heighten hyper independence.
According to VeryWell, hyper-independence ‘refers to individual attempts to be fully independent in all things, even when it is not helpful to do so or when they truly need help or support from others.’ If you are fiercely independent and worry about how it might be affecting your personal and professional relationships, I would recommend going to therapy. A lot of conditioning starts in childhood and therapy is a great tool because it helps you understand why you do the things you do. A good therapist can also put systems in place to help you do some inner work.
We’ve asked Shomi, Psychological Therapist at Lafiyah Health to share some insight on what being fiercely independent looks like as well as how to start asking others for help.
What is hyper-independence?
Not being able to celebrate yourself – If you struggle to feel accomplished or accept compliments, you might be fiercely independent. Those who are fiercely independent also have a constant inclination to reach the next goal and as a result, the reward system in their minds isn’t triggered by their achievements.
A lack of trust – Being fiercely independent can also result from a lack of trust. You may find that you’re able to depend on others but you don’t believe that your actions will be reciprocated, so you rarely reach out for help.
Neglecting your emotional needs – This looks like struggling to identify your own emotional needs and not knowing your limits. You may only notice when you need rest when you experience physical ailments such as headaches, fatigue, muscle pain etc.
Being avoidant – FiercelyIndependent people are often avoidant in relationships and struggle to be vulnerable. They may also find reasons to end relationships instead of exploring workable solutions.
How can hyper independent people let someone help them?
Being intentional about asking for help is a good place to start. You may not feel like you need help at first, but everyone can benefit from support. The more you normalise receiving support from others, the better you become at identifying your needs.
The final takeaway
Allow yourself to be human. Needing help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s normal to ask for (and want) help. Something else to keep in mind is that other people disappointing you isn’t reflective of humanity as a whole. People will disappoint you for various reasons, and sometimes they won’t. You just have to take that risk and work on building trust in yourself and others.