To understand interdependence, we have to first understand polarity. Look at the picture below. Is there anything wrong with this picture?
Did you answer yes? Or did you answer no? Well the answer is yes and no. ‘Yes’ is practical, because this picture is not correct and ‘no’ is imaginary, because it can happen if we understand interdependence. Okay you must be puzzled by now, wondering what I am talking about. So let me explain.
The picture was originally not like that. I photoshopped the penguin onto the polar bear photo. Why? Why did I do that? If you answered ‘yes’ to my above question, it is because you know that geographically it is not possible for a penguin and a polar bear to meet because one lives in the south pole and the other in the north pole and those two places are literally poles apart! They cannot meet except in our imaginations. If you answered ‘no’ that there is nothing wrong with the picture then perhaps you don’t know this geographical fact or because you are a genius and understand the dance of interdependence. Read on to learn more about this dance…
We live in a world of duality where contrasts create the contextual field for us to experience life in physicality. Now what do I mean by that? You see, in this world everything is defined by its polar opposite. In the absence of That Which Is Not, That Which Is, is not. The nothing holds the everything. Do you get this? Hot is defined by cold and yet hot is not cold; tall is defined by short, joy is defined by sorrow, excitement is defined by disappointment, masculine is defined by feminine and vice versa. One cannot exist without the other.
It is not necessarily the case outside of this three dimensional plane. In the absolute realm for example, All That Is, is love. But in the physical realm, there is love and then there is its polar opposite, fear. Fear exists for us to know love experientially here on earth, but where there is fear there is no love. Are you understanding this? Because this is the basis to understanding interdependence. It may be easy to look up that word in a dictionary, but I am trying to explain it in terms of energy and vibration, as in what happens within us when we experience polarity in relationships and when we don’t. Now I explained that we live in a dual world which is defined by polar opposites. But there is a third entity, which exists in between these two opposites balancing out the extremes, where harmony is encountered. For example, there is ‘here’ and there is ‘there’. Then there is the space in between here and there. There is hot, there is cold, then there is that which is neither hot nor cold, i.e. room temperature. This creates the trinity, or the third entity which can even out the polarity. It is the point where union happens, harmony is created and the extreme energies are balanced out.
Let us understand this in the context of relationships. All relationships are essentially a balancing of the masculine and feminine energy to exist in a plane of harmony. Now the masculine and feminine energies are literally as opposed as the north pole and south pole. That is why there is attraction, because each is seeking to come into union with himself/herself through its opposite energy in creation.
Interdependence: what are the two polarities of interdependence? It is codependence and independence. While codependence is toxic with an attachment dynamic where one feels the desperation to cling on to another for survival, many have swung to the other extreme and declared, “I don’t need anyone. I am happy and self-sufficient. Happiness is a choice, a state of mind, and I don’t need to depend on anyone for my happiness”. While clinginess is unhealthy, more times we cause each other pain by not being emotionally present in the connection. So either we engage in codependent behavior by abandoning ourselves to keep that relationship or in order to maintain our personal power swing to its polar opposite and display fierce independence, that snobbish behavior where you show others that you need no one and are content by yourself, while still hoping desperately that someone will love you truly for who you are. To learn more about independence, read my article: is independence leading to loneliness? To understand codependence read, codependence: toxic relationships. In codependent relationship dynamics, usually it is the woman who is so needy and dependent on the man, whereas in independent dynamics both feign they don’t need each other. While one dynamic stifles, the other lacks a sense of bonding. To correct this we need to create interdependence in our relationships with each other, that third entity which can balance out the energies of codependence and independence, the sweet spot where we can rely on each other to fulfill our needs, wants and desires mutually without being needy. We need to stop pretending that we don’t need each other because we do. We need to stop performing all the time or putting on a mask and start living, really living. We need to really feel each other at an emotional level. Interdependence is achieved by adopting two essential principles, both require an immense amount of courage and willingness: authenticity and vulnerability so as to sustain a long term, loving, harmonious union with our partners.
It is not always apparent how we come across to others, because we are just being in the relationship without conscious of what vibe we are putting out there. But relationships are like a mirror of our inner worlds. Our external reality is a reflection of the internal vibrations within us. Every subtle nuance in a relationship is felt and understood intuitively by the partner and they respond to that at a subconscious level. For example, we may outwardly want someone, but inside we are always running from ourselves by behaving in ways that push them away. Nevertheless, they are responding to our internal vibrations, thoughts, imaginations and beliefs, not what we are saying or doing externally. If we have an inherent belief that we are not loveable or unworthy, we are running from ourselves, no matter how much we want the connection or project outward love, the partner will feel it emotionally and also run from us, thus putting to play the runner-chaser dynamic in the connection. For instance, not responding properly to our partners, playing hard to get, leaving a conversation abruptly to preserve power, feigning busyness even when we are interested in someone, acting this way so we won’t be taken for granted, etc. are all control dynamics. Those behaviors however, are not authentic and although may create initial attraction due to polarized fields of energy, sooner or later we will come up against the wall to face our own shadows, or pay the price of never being able to truly express or experience ourselves fully. Polarity creates attraction but that kind of running-chasing does not have the vibration to hold true intimacy, connection, bonding between individuals, because either one or both parties in the relationship are always running from themselves. The one who runs inside, will keep running to preserve his/her power but eventually feel lonely unable to share themselves completely. The running happens due to fears, childhood traumas, past hurts, feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, a sense of not being good enough or unworthy of love, a belief that if others see them truly they would be rejected, lack of self-love or self-acceptance etc. So they keep playing these hide and seek games, which may sustain the connection for a short while but in the long run can ruin relationships or keep them dissatisfied. Because the “into-me-see” kind of intimacy cannot be created when any one or both partners are running in the connection. They are ashamed or afraid of being fully seen, heard or known for who they really are. They hide aspects of themselves, which become part of the shadow consciousness of humanity, and show up in our lives as blind spots.
If the penguin comes close to the polar bear, he will kill her. But the only way for them to be together without taking away each other’s essence, is to learn how to dance. Two steps forward and two steps backward. The dynamics of interdependence is a beautiful dance where each in the connection can hold the space for the other to reveal themselves fully. While the man provides a safe container for the woman to share her feelings in a circular manner, the woman allows him to lead the dance so she can know what moves to make. So both can experience autonomy as well as rely on each other for their needs to be met; it is a dance between independence and dependence. Most failed relationships are marked by the couple coming together in intense attraction then pulling away because the energies are too intense, opposed, and they cannot handle such extremity, so much intimacy. This is the polarity that is reflected in most love stories and until the couple learns to balance out the energies there will be problem in the connection or dissatisfaction will prevail, followed by blaming, shaming, judging, complaining, power struggles etc. It is when they are learning to dance and stepping onto each other’s toes all the time, even hurting each other in the process, but through the heartbreaks and disappointments they learn the moves of this eternal dance of energies until they can flow swiftly with each other. If they are willing and open to learn the dance, that is. Many are not, and thereby part ways, or perpetuate the polarity!