Do you know the difference?

Let’s learn about these 3 very important stages of development together.

In Stephen R. Covey’s masterful book about personal change, I learned about Dependence,

Independence, and Interdependence.

Before this, I had never even considered the difference.

As I’ve shared many times on this podcast, this book is the book that I read as I was trying to find my way out of the fog of my depression.

I had received the medical help I needed, but still found myself in what I call the depression fog.

I borrowed this book from my library on CD’s so I could listen to it as I was filling orders from my Etsy shop.

What I ended up doing was stopping the CD over and over again so I could take notes.  I wanted to remember all of the mind-blowing information I was learning.

I finally ended up just ordering the book on Amazon so I could highlight what I wanted to remember.  That was much easier.

One of the first things I remember learning was about the difference between Dependence,

Independence, and Interdependence.

Let’s talk about each of those.


Dependence focuses on YOU.

You should take care of me.

You should do this.

You should do that.

You are responsible for me.

This sounds like, “I am dependent on You.”


The contrast of this dependence is Independence.  Focusing on I.

I am self-sufficient.

I can do this by myself.

I am capable.

I am responsible.

I am Independent.

That leads us to Interdependence:

This turns the focus to WE.

We can do it together.

We can cooperate.

We can synergize.  Remember, I talked about Synergy in Episode 116.  It’s when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its individual parts.  Go back and listen to that episode if you haven’t.

When you become interdependent, you start seeing things as:

We can combine our talents and abilities.

We can achieve something greater together.

We are Interdependent for the greater good of both of us.

Let’s think about Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence a little bit more.

Some people need others to get what they want.  That makes them dependent on others.  When we are children, we are dependent on our parents or caregivers.  Dependence is a necessary step in our development.

Dependent people are the opposite of those who are Independent.  Those are the people who don’t rely on anyone else to get what they want.

Now, let’s compare both of these developmental levels to those who chose to combine their talents and abilities with others to achieve even greater success.

These people are Interdependent.

A Definition of interdependence is: “Mutual dependence of individuals, organizations, or even nations.”

It’s a principle of nature.

Interdependence synergizes the potential of individuals on a personal, organizational or even international level.

I would like to ask you to think about something.

We all come to a place of independence at some point in our lives.  Sometimes we lose that through circumstances or major events in our lives that can set us back.

But Independence seems to be the goal of most of us.  I have witnessed this in all of my children and it’s exciting to see them begin to feel confident in their independence.

But what has brought me even more joy as a parent, is when they have realized that Interdependence is an even better place to be.

Consider when you go to the grocery store for the first time by yourself as a young adult.

You walk in with the money in your account that you earned by showing up for work every day.

You are feeling pretty independent.

You walk around the store and choose the food you want to eat, putting it in your cart,  go to the cashier and pay for it and feel pretty independent as you head home, prepare and then eat your dinner.

But have you accomplished this feat completely independent of anyone else?

Let me ask you,

How did the food get to the store?

Who put the food on the shelves?

Who drove it to the store?

Who put it on the truck that drove it to the store?

Who grew the food that was on that truck?

Who provided the soil and water and light to grow the food?

So many things had to happen to create a place for you to buy this food.

Interesting to think about, isn’t it.

But this thought process can be looked at in reverse too!!

All of the people that helped get the food to the store for you to buy are also relying on you to purchase the food so they can provide a meal for themselves and anyone else who is dependent on them.

It isn’t easy to see how interdependent we are when we separate ourselves from others and focus on how independent we are.

This takes a higher level of thinking.

Does it matter if we recognize our Interdependence?

Are there consequences if we only focus on our independence?

What happens when we continually separate ourselves from others and our dependence on them?

What if we begin to look for all those around us that are contributing to the way we live each day?

What if we see things as relational instead of separate?

How does that change how we feel about others?

When we begin to realize that we are all part of an Interdependent web that influence each other and that without each other, we actually cannot survive.

Selfishness and competition thrive in this type of independent thinking.

Independence is a strength for sure but can also become a great weakness when we use it to separate ourselves from others.

Our relationship with ourself really matters but can become a weakness when we don’t take our gifts and talents and share them with the others around us.

When we are truly Interdependent, that’s where the greatest growth begins to happen.

Success never happens in a vacuum.  We all need each other.

Self-made anything is not a reality.

I am so grateful for the concepts of Dependance, Independence, and Interdependence.

They have opened my eyes to a new way of viewing the world.  And I hope that this helps you to see things from a new point of view as well.

Thanks for joining me here today and remember:

I see you.  I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.

Ep. 120: Self-Made Doesn’t Exist