Celebrating Interdependence Day

Happy Interdependence Day!

Yes, I mean Inter-dependence! On Independence Day, July 4, I invite you to contemplate and celebrate your connections with others.


Critters play volleyball on the beach.

Think about it! What you have right now is by the grace of your community and connections. The group you are partying with on the 4th, the food on the table, the gas fueling your barbecue, and the beer in the cooler come from family and friends and the work of the many individuals in agriculture, transportation, communication, energy, commerce, etc. There is a lot to appreciate as we gather and celebrate our country’s birthday.

According to Websters, independence is complete freedom from the influence of outside people or parties.

Independence is an illusion! We are never completely free of the influence of others, outside or inside. Nor is it something to be desired. We may want awareness, to be able to choose how someone’s influence affects us, but we will never have complete freedom.

We are social beings, programed to bond. Interdependence allows us to thrive.

Our attachment to this notion of  “independence” and Independence Day has unfortunate consequences. It promotes a feeling of self-sufficiency and entitlement. When we believe that our successes, our accumulation of wealth or power is the result of our own doing, it is easy to overlook the efforts of others as well as our responsibility to them. This illusions of independence is at the foundation of what is currently wrong with today’s leadership.

Rugged individualism, a pervasive concept in US culture, has enabled our leaders to get off track — to forget that we are all in this together and interconnected. 

In many ways, human society is like a human body — a cooperation of the many to make the larger organism or organization function and thrive. When some of the parts lose track of this prime directive, i.e., the over-all health of the organism, we called it cancer.

Unfortunately, we can not change others. We can only work on our own individual thoughts and behaviors. Working on ourselves, however, is a powerful act! When we recognize and celebrate our interdependence, we not only make better choices for our community, we actually inspire better choices of others.

Here are some suggestions for celebrating our interdependence on July 4th and beyond:


Notice all the abundance around you and express thanks to the many individuals who knowingly or unknowingly made it possible. This gratitude not only encourages more cooperation, it actually feels good inside and promotes your own health. 


Consciously choose what kind of social influence you allow into your life. Spend time with those who inspire hope, creativity, and positive action. This type of interaction will uplift you. Together in community you may create something beneficial for all.


Limit contact with those who leave you feeling victimized, angry or powerless — for example, TV news reports. Yes, I understand the desire to stay informed. However, when there is nothing you can do about a wrong, injustice or tragic event, and you consume the hyped-up TV version of that event, the emotions that get triggered and re-triggered in your body, e.g. anger, disgust, and fear, have nowhere to go. Your body is flooded with the chemistry of these emotions, which, over time, can compromise your health in addition to your well-being. A steady dose of negative daily news is not being informed, it is self-abuse.

The same goes for people who habitually complain without thought of a remedy. Chronic complaining can suck your joy away. Invite these people to change the topic to something good in their lives. If they can’t go there, and for some the habit is too deeply engrained, seek the company of those who can. While you are at it, you might want to monitor and limit your own tendencies to complain.

Assisting Others:

Humans are biologically wired to help others. Generosity actually make us feel good. It is at the foundation of bonding and community. When we give, people are inspired to give back.

I have been practicing generosity in Heart2Heart, the Toastmasters Club I joined 2 and a half years ago. After only 6 month, I volunteered to be club president when no one else would. I surprised myself and took this leadership role seriously. I made a commitment to take some of the load off the person who had been holding the club together. Not only has the club florished, new members are gladly stepping into leadership roles. It is the sign of a healthy community when everyone pitches in. Positive associations like this not only help us live longer, they promote personal growth and achievement. Everyone wins.

Asking for Assistance:

The value of rugged individualism, i.e. I can do it myself, I can do it better, often leads to overdoing, overwhelm, and frustration, especially when we attempt tasks for which we lack the requisite skills or knowledge. 

Self-sufficiency was one of the values I grew up with. Do it yourself! It’s a habit not easily changed. It feels safe, responsible, virtuous. However, in the end it’s not worth it. Frankly, most of us are just too busy to learn how to do everything. Today I spent over 2 hours trying to figure out where my YouTube videos are and how to create a new channel. Arrgh! It is finally clear to me that I experience less frustration, spend less money and progress much faster when I seek guidance for the things I do not know how to do or do not want to do. When I ask for help, I feel more ease, happiness and productivity.

I suggest you do-it-yourself only if it is something you love to do, otherwise delegate. 

It is good to practice asking for help. Remember, at some point in our lives, self-sufficiency will not longer be possible. Like a new baby, we will need assistance with dressing, feeding and hygiene – except for the lucky few who depart this life in a sudden flash. The probability of that, I’m sorry to say, is horribly small. Learn the art of receiving to insure there is help when you need it.

Change Codependence into Interdependence

Do not confuse co-dependence with interdependence. Co-dependence is when someone either gives or asks for help in order to feed an unquenchable desire for love. The chronic people-pleaser who habitually gives away time, talent or money to secure approval is an example of the codependent giver. The manipulating taker who guilt-trips assistance though helplessness, illness or bullying exemplifies the co-dependent receiver. Although outwardly different, the underlying cause of each is the same – a lack of unconditional love in early childhood.

A child’s survival depends on receiving love or at least attention. When it is not forthcoming, or is conditional, the child will create a pattern of behavior that works best within his/her family dynamic to secure the needed attention. Because this pattern is, to some extent, successful, i.e. the child survives, it becomes entrenched and habitual. Unfortunately or rather fortunately, it does not work as well in adulthood. When the old habit is not rewarded, it can trigger disappointment, anger and resentment. Although not always, it is this pattern failure that motivates an effort to change.

The best way to transform codependency is through the cultivation of self-love, self-confidence, and personal power — not something you can achieve overnight. It takes work.

When you feel good about yourself and love yourself, you no longer crave the approval of others nor are you shaken by their disapproval. You generate your own positive energy which can then be shared with those you are helping and/or those helping you. This positive energy is magnetic. You draw positive people to you and repel negative ones. When giving or receiving are grounded in this positive energy, all benefit.

Year ago when my dearest friend Marianne was dying from cancer, several of her friends, including me, vied for the privilege of assisting her. Her graciousness and positive spirit drew us. Being in her company, of service, and welcomed into the intimacy of her dying was experienced by me as valuable beyond measure. That is the gift of self love.

True interdependence is a win-win proposition. Everyone benefits when they operate from a place of self love.

Would you like some tools for creating this win-win dynamic in your life? Please join me for one or both of the following August events:

  1. Empowering You, Transforming Lives: Fall into Balance

            Guest Interview with Host Rebecca Hall Gruyter
            Voice of America Internet Radio

            August 1st, 11 am PST

            Mark Your Calendar, links will be provided

I will be discussing with host Rebecca how loss and emotional wounds throws us out of balance and what we can do about it.

  1. Release Your Loss and Thrive in Business

            August 4, 1:30-3pm

            Albany Library
            1247 Marin Ave, Albany, CA
            Edith Stone Room

            FREE EVENT

Loss and significant change can affect our pocketbooks as well as our emotions. It can undermine our concentration and capacity to work. It may even lose us a job. Learn essential keys to navigating the challenges of change so that you can grow and even prosper regardless of your current circumstances.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dr. Michelle Peticolas is a national speaker and expert on the topics of loss, emotional wounding and unresolved grief. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and over 18 years experience coaching people through major life challenges.  If you’re ready to change the habit of rushing, download and listen to her Stress Release Body Scan audio recording. Find out where you are holding energy and learn to release it. 

Speak Your Mind