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The Independence Balancing Act

September 19, 2013 | 2 Comments

by Marcia Knudson, Manager of Counseling Services at Second Sense

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I Can Do It Myself!

Independence is a goal that motivates us throughout our lives.  A forceful “I can do it myself” is a solid part of a toddler’s vocabulary.

At the same time, children will easily and without drama, ask an older sibling or a parent to reach that bag of cookies that is on top of the refrigerator.

Asking for help to reach that bag of cookies is a far wiser option for that child than to insist on doing it himself, creating a rickety tower of boxes and chairs and risking a serious accident.  So, maybe asking for help isn’t so dependent after all.

It can be very difficult for many people to ask for help.  However, when the prudent choice is to ask for assistance, not only are we taking care for our safety, we’re also allowing someone close to us, who is willing to be of assistance, to provide that assistance on our own terms.

Life’s Teeter-Totter

It may be helpful to think of this as a continuum with an absolute “I can do it myself” on one end and a “Poor me, somebody help me” on the other end.  Imagine it like a teeter-totter balancing back and forth.

On good days, we may be very close to “I can do it myself” end. On days that aren’t so good, we may feel closer to the other end.  On most days, we are probably somewhere in the middle —  a healthy interdependence, managing this balancing act as we meet the demands of daily life.

Most of the time, we can be confident about our level of independence and clear about situations where we need assistance.  We can assume the role of educating those close to us and those we encounter in public about the best and most respectful ways to offer assistance.

If the Independence Balancing Act is a challenge for you, you are not alone.   If you’d like to get together with others to talk about this balancing act, give me a call at Second Sense (312-236-8569) and we can gather together for pointers and support.

What is the area in your life where you struggle most with this balancing act?

Marcia Knudson, LCSW, is the newest member of our Second Sense team bringing many years of counseling experience .  Marcia is a graduate of North Park University and Loyola University School of Social Work.

2 comments on “The Independence Balancing Act”

  1. Tony Colon says:

    Well said! You are so right, there are days I may need assistancewhile , most of the time I do well independently. It is good to know there are folks that understand this and don’t view it as a mood…

    1. Marcia Knudson says:

      Thanks for your comment! In a world filled with good and not-so-good days, life goes on and on, or maybe back and forth on that teeter- totter.

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