Do you insist on doing everything all by yourself? Indeed, our culture attaches a great deal of importance to independence. But is it possible to overdo it? While we all value guts and grit, society may be feeding you unrealistic goals for your life. When did it become taboo to profit or prosper with the help of others?

Indeed, we are all born as adorable, helpless infants. Our parents take care of our every need. Do we fully outgrow our dependency on others? Not so fast. Women are now taught that placing reliance on others is a weakness. If you seek emotional balance, you may not opt to live all alone with no people, pets, or plants. Do you believe that you should never rely on anyone to get what you want or need?

The truth is that we are designed to depend on one another. While you don’t want to be defenseless or debilitated, being too autonomous can sabotage you, as well. Perhaps you have been hurt and felt the need to create walls around your heart. Realize this, sweet friends: Even those who truly love you are now kept out.

In order to make sense of your life, you need to find others who understand you emotionally. You only talk to yourself because you like dealing with a better class of people? Did you ever notice how overly self-assertive people rarely ask for your opinion or even an exchange of ideas?

You know what they say: The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. I know. It’s hard to be humble when you’re the best. “I like to think of myself as a humble person. Actually, I just like to think of myself.” Uh-oh. Being too humble is my greatest meekness.

Do you lean on or confide in your family, friends, or colleagues at times? An exaggerated self-opinion is nothing more than a tactic to disguise insecurity. Conceit kills curiosity. Yet for some, asking for help comes quite naturally. Take my advice. I don’t use it anyway. I, for one, welcome someone lightening my load. But be careful with that advice, please. An ounce of help is better than a pound of moralizing.

Believe it or not, there may be things you may not have thought of independently. Asking loved ones for advice conveys trust, respect, and even appreciation. Practice, sweet friends. Warmly and courteously ask someone for guidance when you feel the need. It is truly an essential dimension of intimacy.

What’s that? Your phone battery lasts longer than most of your relationships? Speaking of which… Your phone’s low-battery warning is the only warning you take seriously? You know when your phone doesn’t have enough battery to let you take pics, or make calls, but it has enough battery to remind your every ten seconds that the battery is low. I feel you.

But seriously, please don’t point that finger to judge. Instead, extend your hand to help. Asking for help can be just as heroic as offering it. Seeking support, comfort, or consolation can literally save your life. Experienced and wised-up friends or family tend to be eager to share their accumulated wisdom with you. It is actually quite fulfilling to feel useful and helpful.

True, you can’t help everyone. But everyone can surely help someone. Looking for some new exercise? Reach down and lift someone up. I know. You don’t need a fancy watch to tell you you’re not fit one bit.

Whenever you find humor in a difficult situation, you win. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh till your abs hurt. That way you never actually have to work out. Speaking of abs, doesn’t time really fly – when you’re not on a treadmill? According to your calorie intake, you need to be on the treadmill for two years. I get it. What’s that? Sports are the reason you’re out of shape? You watch them all day.

But truly, friendships and love relationships are made more secure and long-lasting through reciprocal care, kindness, and compassion. “Lean on me, when you’re not strong.” Please let go of the aversion to being supported or propped up by your loved ones when you are in need. Real strength comes from vulnerability.

Indeed, have a mind of your own. Instead of rocking someone else’s boat, row your own. It’s all good. But know this: If you are too independent, you may shut her out emotionally. You want him to know that he can share his deepest feelings and you will be there for him. Allow yourself to need people. Most of us need love and acceptance a lot more than we need advice.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at