Happy summer to all! It’s a time for playing and enjoying the brightness of the shining sun, and this month the U.S. celebrated Independence Day.

While many of us pride ourselves on our independence and personal freedom, is that view really the whole picture? We are certainly free to travel for example, but really couldn’t do so without the planes, cars, dining spots and a whole host of others dedicated to helping us make our journey. Independence is grand, but it’s interdependence that makes things, including people, keep moving in this world.

I am deeply grateful every day for the people in my world who teach me new things, pitch in and help or are simply there as supportive friends. All of that is a gift from the universe to all of us. There is however a fine line between interdependency and codependency. While interdependency is the healthy cousin of codependency, on their own, codependent relationships are defined by unhealthy balances in which another person’s needs are consistently put ahead of our own. If you constantly need reassurance that you are ok, loved and doing well, you may be codependent. Basically, you lack a deeper sense of self and need outside validation. And the person who feeds into those needs is codependent as well.

In interdependent relationships, whether romantic, family or friends, all parties maintain and grow in their sense of self while feeling the freedom to ask for help or make decisions, knowing they will be supported. Among many others, there are three key things that mark a person as interdependent:

  • Not being afraid to ask for what you want
  • Feeling free to say “no”
  • Continue pursuing your personal goals

While it is grand to be independent in so many ways, people are wired for connection. So enjoy finding the balance of a happy, healthy interdependent life!