Islands

Have you ever heard someone say, "I'm an island of one?"  I did several years ago, from someone who was very close to me, and I think about the phrase often.  When I see people trying to make self-sufficiency their goal, and turn away from needing others, the sting returns.  As I often do with destructive language or thought, I reframed this one.  I hope that you find it useful if you know someone who holds on to this philosophy in life.  

An island is, in fact, a perfect example of interdependence - the opposite of self-sufficiency. What we see above the surface is just that, surface observation. Islands have deep and wide connections running through the ocean floor, and the ability to peek out and survey what's happening on land. To personify, an island eloquently shows us how to be grounded while being vulnerable. Instead of not needing anyone/thing around them, I think of islands as informed guardians who listen to both sides of every story.  The ocean and the land depend on them, and give back to the island in equal measure.  Islands are the oceans' own lighthouses.  

When you next encounter a person or philosophy that uses the old island of one tenet to go about its business, consider reframing it for them.  Not through obvious words like these, but through your own actions.  Put aside the all-or-nothing connotations psychology has given to the idea of needing - this is not about needing others so much that one cannot function alone. Nature doesn't malign interdependence, or see it as weak. Rather, it is the backbone of nature's existence.  And nature has been living a successful life far longer than its inhabitants have been.  I am hopeful that more humans will take a page out of nature's book and realize that connection is nothing but positive, necessary and productive.  Take every opportunity to learn about and give to others, and see what the beauty of living life like an island can bring.