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  • Self Trust vs. Independence


    All of your relationships are a reflection of your relationship with yourself. The way you feel in your relationships is a reflection of the way you feel in your relationship with yourself. Self help gurus and Spiritual Teachers often teach their disciples this lesson and then proceed to guide people towards total responsibility for the state of one’s own life and relationships. But then, extending this responsibility further, they guide their disciples towards the state of complete self-sufficiency and independence from others. They tell you that everything you need from others, you must provide for yourself. This expert advice tells you that happiness and love should come from within and should never be dependent on what anyone else does or does not do. It tells you that your well-being is not anyone else’s responsibility, it’s your responsibility. It tells you that every person needs to look after himself or herself and that we need to learn to distance ourselves emotionally from others so that we can remain undisturbed by other people.

    This modality teaches us that if we can’t keep an even keel, remain emotionally detached from them and be completely independently happy, something is wrong with us and we are enmeshed with others or “codependent”. All forms of dependency are seen as deficiency. Need for other people, is seen as an addiction to other people.

    Following this traditional model, one begins to build a model of the world that is for lack of a better word… lonely. We begin to feel as if we are in this life alone and like it is inappropriate to ask others for what we want and need. We begin to believe that it is wrong to rely on other people or depend on them in any way. We are told that if we need other people, it is codependency. From a biological perspective, dependency is not a preference it’s a fact. Putting the fact that we depend on the earth and it’s resources for our survival aside, lets take a look at the biology of relationships. When we become attached to someone, the two of us now form one physiological unit. In truth, we have this relationship with all that is. But it is now proven that our partner is able to regulate our heart rates, breathing and the level of hormones in our blood. Our partner’s availability and proximity to us, influences our stress response. Our sense of differentiation is reduced, even on a biological level when we develop a relationship with them. This reduction of differentiation is the reflection of the fact that when we are in a relationship, we come closer to understanding and experiencing oneness. There is also a psychological phenomenon called the dependency paradox. We act more independent when we have the security of depending on someone else. If you observe a two year old in a new environment, they will crawl around and explore as long as they are assured of the presence of their primary caregiver. If the primary caregiver leaves the room, they will become distressed and insecure and stop exploring. As soon as their primary caregiver returns, they are back to independently exploring the environment. Adults are no different it turns out. If we feel secure that we can rely on the person or people that we are attached to, we are able to take risks, be more creative and pursue our goals. The self-help community and the spiritual community is littered with people whose needs were not met by their primary caregivers and by successive relationships in their life. After all, look at the word self-help. One only turns to self-help when there is no one else there to help them, but themselves. And one turns to spirituality for solace, when that solace is not being provided for them by the physical dimension or by the people in their physical reality. These people already operate under the unhealthy belief that their needs cannot be met by others because they have never known a day when their needs were met by others. They have had to grow up in an atmosphere of survival. And they have figured out that the only way to survive was to disconnect from others, turn inward and become completely self reliant for everything. This is a problem when they still desperately crave intimate connection and symbiosis with others. They must convince themselves not to want what they want and to ultimately avoid what they want. Contrary to popular opinion, these people do not actually trust themselves fully. There is a big difference between trusting oneself and distrusting others. It is very easy for people who have been forced into a position of self-sufficiency to use spiritual truths to bypass this original pain in their lives and use that suppressed grief to justify a state of avoidance to attaching to and depending on others. This belief blinds them to the truth of interdependence and it prevents them from seeing the bigger picture. A bigger picture where the universe is trying to provide us with the opportunity to heal our relationship with ourselves by mirroring the pain contained within our relationship with ourselves through our relationship with others…instead of trying to push us into a state of independent self-sufficiency.

    It is also very easy for people who were convinced early in life that they could not trust themselves or rely on themselves, to use spiritual truths of interdependence and oneness to justify a state of turning the responsibility of their lives, over to other people and becoming completely powerlessly dependent on others. They, having abandoned themselves over the course of their lives, are constantly looking for someone to heal the internal loneliness and grief that they feel and “adopt” them. They too, have grown up in an atmosphere of survival. They have figured out that the only way to survive is to completely hook into others, and become completely reliant on others for everything. This is a problem when they still crave an intimate connection with themselves and still crave an empowered state where they can trust themselves. This is a problem when they continue to abandon and avoid themselves when they look for someone else to be there for them. The universe will mirror your resistance to yourself by turning you back towards yourself. The universe will mirror your self-distrust and lack of self-reliance by putting you in situations where you cannot rely on others and must only rely on yourself. We misinterpret this mirroring to mean that the universe is telling us that we cannot rely on others and that it is inappropriate to get our needs met through others. It makes us believe in independence instead of in self-trust. Independence is a hardened state that is closed to others.

    Self-trust is a soft state that is open to the self. Independence is a state of resistance to others and resisting the relationship with others. Self-trust is a state of allowing of the self and allowing the relationship with the self. It is not wrong to get your needs met by other people. But when you do not trust yourself and when you are resisting yourself or the way you feel, you will run into the reflection of that. The universe will seem to push you towards self-sufficiency and towards being alone with yourself. You will probably begin to feel like the message is that you are alone and that you can only rely on yourself. It is trying to help you heal by mirroring that you can’t trust others to meet your needs so that you are forced to re-establish the relationship with yourself, be completely with yourself and the way you feel, release resistance to yourself, be there for yourself in your grief or anger or fear, feel empowered in and of yourself and begin to trust yourself.

    If you don’t trust yourself, you will continually try to get other people to take responsibility for you and for your life. You will constantly try to get them to “adopt you” by taking up the void that exists where you abandoned yourself. But you are not a match to a person who can do this, if you are in resistance to (and therefore focusing on) running from yourself and resisting the responsibility for yourself. All you will manifest is people you can’t trust and can’t rely on. This forces you to heal the relationship with yourself. If you were running from yourself and resistant to yourself and didn’t trust yourself, and you could manifest a person to take care of you and take responsibility for you and make you feel better and who you could rely on, you would remain incomplete, un-integrated and unhealed forever. That defeats the purpose of life completely.

    If you continually try to get other people to take responsibility for you (especially by asking them to make you feel better), you are perpetuating a state of powerless dependence, self-avoidance and self-distrust. The universe doesn’t hate you. You are not alone and the universe is not telling you that you can’t depend on others. The universe is merely trying to put you in a position where you can learn that you CAN trust yourself, be completely present with yourself and depend on yourself. It is trying to help you heal your relationship with yourself by leading you towards a relationship with yourself that is good. To do this, it must lead you away from your current pattern of avoiding yourself by powerlessly depending on others. It is trying to lead you into self-trust and empowered symbiosis.

    When it seems like the message that the universe is trying to cram down your throat is that you can only rely on yourself and that you cannot get your needs met by others (which is a message that feels lonely and like the weight of the world is on your shoulders alone), remind yourself that this is not the universe’s message or intention. It is simply the reflection of the fear (and early life experience) that you are alone and that your needs can’t get met by others and that the weight of the world is on your shoulders alone. It is simply the reflection of your resistance to yourself, your resistance to the truth of how you feel and your self-distrust. From there, begin to take more of a proactive and engaged role with yourself (this is what society calls taking responsibility for yourself), not because you are your own burden to bear and you must bear that burden alone and not because the universe values independence, but instead because you will live a happier life if you begin to show yourself that you can trust yourself. Instead of using people to feel better, take time to be completely with yourself and with the truth of how you feel right here and now without trying to change how you feel. Your emotions are valuable. They always have something important to convey. If you avoid your emotions, you avoid the truth of yourself. Taking responsibility for yourself in this way reunites and reintegrates you with yourself. It is only meant provide proof that you can trust yourself. It is not meant to reinforce the belief that you are “in it alone” and “can only rely on yourself”.

    It is difficult for people to remove their own pain, fears and negative beliefs from the perspectives that they offer to the world. Sometimes an entire group of people who have had similar painful experiences, propagate a perspective that reflects more fear and pain than love and joy. This is the case with many of the people in the self-help and spiritual community that teach independent self-sufficiency instead of self-trust and symbiosis. The truth is, this is an interdependent universe. When we feel as if we need other people to meet our needs, because we can’t meet our own needs, that means we want to escape ourselves or we do not trust ourselves. If this is the case, it is healthy to learn to reunite with ourselves and take responsibility for ourselves and thus learn that we can meet our needs. When we hate ourselves, and resist ourselves, it is healthy to learn to give love to ourselves. When we are powerless in our dependence on others, it is healthy and empowering to learn that we can be self-sufficient and depend on ourselves. But this has nothing to do with other people. It has nothing to do with whether we can or can’t rely on other people to meet our needs. If we have the tendency to avoid intimate relationships with others and resist interdependence with others, it is healthy to learn that we can depend on others. It is healthy to learn to ask others for what we need and learn that other people can meet our needs if we let them. When we distrust others and resist others, it is healthy to learn to trust others and allow others into our hearts and our lives. When we are ‘independent’ it is good and empowering to learn that you can depend on other people and develop symbiotic relationships with them. The sweet spot of health in this universe rests squarely in the center of two seemingly opposing truths. We live in an interdependent universe, where our needs come to us through other people and things; because in a universe that is one, those other people and things are ultimately US. But because they are us, we are not powerless to those people and things. As creators, we attract those people and things into our lives in the first place. Our relationship with them, is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves and so, we can ultimately trust and rely on ourselves. We are at our healthiest when we have a loving and trusting relationship with ourselves. We are at our healthiest when we are integrated and whole in and of ourselves. We are at our best when we feel enough self-love and self-trust to feel empowered in our own lives because we trust ourselves and our relationship with ourselves to reflect out in our reality as symbiotic relationships with people who are loving, dependable and trustworthy.