Right now I’m participating in the Midnight Sun IIT in Finland as a support trainer (an IIT – International Intensive Training – is a 10-day NVC course). One topic that has arisen is how we handle the Covid situation. In large parts of the world – including Finland – restrictions on Covid have more or less ceased. At the same time, new variants of the virus continue to spread.

There are different levels around the handling of the situation. Some of the parties are the Finnish state, the conference facility where the IIT takes place, the organisers and the trainers team of the IIT. There are also participants who belong to risk groups and who for other reasons choose to wear face masks. And there are course participants who have longed to meet without any restrictions.

Many needs to attend to

The organisers and the trainers have together with the participants a tough task to balance different needs and strategies to handle the situation. One of the main needs in this situation is – as I see it – interdependence. It’s so obvious that when we meet in such a small place for 10 days, the actions we choose affect others. We are all connected and there is almost no individual choice I make that doesn’t affect others in any way.

In this situation, there are a lot of other needs with varying strategies to take into consideration. Some of these needs are security and safety, autonomy and freedom, to be heard and to contribute. Simply starting from one’s own needs without considering how one’s own choices affect others does not contribute to contact. Listening to how others experience the situation and how others’ choices affect them seems to lead to connection and greater openness to different solutions.

Interdependence as an emerging need

Interdependence is an exciting word. It is an awareness that we influence each other. I think that it’s one of the needs for which we have a growing capacity. When I’m born, in the first years of my life I depend on the care of others to meet my needs. I’m left to the will of others for my physical survival.

As I grow up, I become more and more independent in more and more areas. Eventually, I’m no longer in direct dependence on anyone. I have the ability to take action and tend to my own needs. I’ve gone from dependence to independence.

The importance of independence

Independence is an important step. When I’ve grown tired of waiting for others to fulfil my needs it’s time for me to move on. Now I start to stand up for myself, even if it goes against what others want. I can finally see and take care of my own needs, I have the means of getting them fulfilled and I want them to be met right now! Other people can think whatever they want!

When I’ve been in the stage of independence for a while, I may have been able to meet most of my needs. Sometimes I’ve done it at the expense of others. I’ve also paid the price for doing this. Some people might avoid me. It’s hard to develop deeper connections when most of my focus is on me. I may have been left alone. Slowly I’m starting to notice that we’re all connected. My actions have consequences. What I do affects you and vice versa.

We all belong

It’s not as fun anymore to be independent, even if I get what I want. I no longer want to fulfil my own needs if the price is that I ignore other people’s needs. I see that I don’t just have a choice waiting for others to meet my needs or meeting my needs by my own actions. In interaction with others I can actually meet both my own and other people’s needs. Sometimes I can do that in collaboration and sometimes I can try to contribute to others. And by doing that I at the same time contribute to my own needs being fulfilled.

There is a concept I like called enlightened egoism. I do things for others, perhaps by performing seemingly self-sacrificing acts. But by doing these things, in the long run, I will meet more of my own needs to a greater degree than if I were engaging in strategies that might be labelled selfish.

Have you noticed a growing capacity for interdependence in your life?

Leave a comment below or, if you are a Premium subscriber of “The Needs’ Year”, at the online platform: https://empathiceurope.com/online/courses/the-needs-year/modules/week-27/ 


Joachim Berggren (CNVC Certified Trainer)

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On 13 July at 19:00-19:45 CEST, you can participate in a Zoom Talk with me and Kristin Masters. We will talk about the need for interdependence.

Sign up for the Needs’ Year and you will receive a link to Zoom.

If you read this afterwards, you can watch the recording when you become a premium subscriber. Check the details HERE.

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