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Interdependence and Independence - Essay Example

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The author of the paper examines two perceptions that people have about themselves regarding their relationship with others (independent self-concept and interdependent self-concept). The author also explores the advantages of interdependence as opposed to independence…
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Interdependence and Independence
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Interdependence and Independence Human beings usually categorize themselves into individual or group entities.These self-conceptions usually emanate in people’s minds and determine their motivation as well as cognitions. There are usually two perceptions that people have about themselves regarding their relationship with others. The first is the independent self-concept where an individual’s conception about his or her existence is that he or she exists separate from other people. Independent self-concept encompasses behaviour traits, preferences and attitudes of an individual. The second perception is the interdependent self-concept where a person is affiliated or feels connected to others. This paper explores the advantages of interdependence as opposed to independence. Gish Jen argues that “the joy of a functioning interdependent relationship can be tremendous.”
Unlike independent-self which focuses on individual responsibility separate from the entire society, interdependent self-concept emphasizes shared responsibilities. The main tenet of interdependence self-concept is the reliance that exists among individuals in the society for survival and mutual development. Interdependence self instils the idea that people are not alone in their attempts at mental growth and development. People also provided support for one another to grow socially. Interdependent self-concept also promotes responsibility sharing by encouraging individuals to take various roles, which contribute to the development and growth of the society.
Interdependent self-concept is also crucial for overcoming fear. Unlike independence, which puts an individual against the rest of other members of the society, interdependence promotes cohesion among society members, thus helping individuals to experience lower levels of fear and insecurity. The recognition of the fact that one has support of others remains crucial for alleviating negative feelings, which could yield fear in individuals. Support for each other is only possible in a society where people feel close to each other and the society is characterized by high level of interdependence. Interdependence also promotes good and meaningful relationships. Interdependence promotes strong ties between individuals, both personal and professional, which is deficient in independent self-concept. In independent self-concept, people often emerge as overly self-reliant, which jeopardizes the chances of forming positive bonds among individuals. According to Jen, “interdependent selves, more accustomed to striking balances, may be better equipped at finding the unity in apparent polar opposites.” Unlike individualism which furthers, seclusion, decontextualization and narcissism, interdependence nurtures a sense of collectivism by making people to realize that they need each other for their growth and development. Interdependence teaches people how to fit in and nurture interdependence among society members. It equips individuals with necessary skills essential for fitting within the groups into which they belong. Through interdependence self-concept, people are able to study each other’s minds and develop a sense of sympathy for one another. Whereas independent self-concept focuses on an individual’s internal characteristics, which makes him or her unique from the rest of the members of the society, interdependence self-concept seeks on helping people to fit in relevant existing relationships as they strive to become important components of such relationships or systems. Interdependence emphasizes on how people relate with each other and get on well with existing norms of the society, which dictate how people relate. Intrinsic attributes of individuals play no major role in the way individuals think, feel or act. However, Jen also argues that “we need both the interdependent and the independent self,” appealing that people from either side of self-concepts accommodates and understands each other. Read More
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