We love our independence.
It is an empowering thought to imagine all of our needs being met within our own power. It is also inaccurate.
We do not entirely depend on others for our success, failure or enjoyment; but our experiences are directly influenced by other individuals.
When I call customer support, the person on the other end of the line can exert power to inject the conversation with a desire to help or with disdain for my requests.
Each member of a team meeting holds a hand. They can decide which card to lay down at the table: collaboration, tyranny, eagerness, stonewalling or disinterest. What they play can change the whole game.
When addressing an incident, a manager chooses the story she tells her employee. The story could be about her commitment, and the commitment of the organization, to invest in the development of the employee. Or the manager could choose to tell a story of rules, infidelity and fear of what lies ahead. The selection of this story affects which story the employee chooses to tell himself, his colleagues and his family.
To a certain degree, we are at the mercy of others. We are not powerless victims, but we do need others to join us in telling a story that ultimately is about doing what is right, overcoming evil, sacrificing for others, showing compassion for the hurting, serving with joy and passion… a story about love.
To see yourself at the mercy of others may feel disempowering, but then there is the realization that others are at your mercy as well.
Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.