If you’re reading this post, you may just be old enough to remember Bill Withers’ soulful song from 1972. Lean on Me helps us remember that all of us can use a hand sometimes…and we can lend a hand sometimes as well. The older we get, the more challenges we face. As “they” say, it is what it is. But guess what? We have a choice about how we face those challenges!
Let’s see. On one hand, we can be proudly and doggedly independent and not reach out; that approach may work…or not. We can be dependent, accepting help when we best do things ourselves. We can be co-dependent, giving so much of ourselves to someone else that our own well-being suffers.
OR…we can embrace interdependence! How does interdependence work? We build relationships in which we reach out for help when we need it and lend a hand to others when they need it. We can achieve a wonderful balance and we all benefit!
I first became aware of the concept of interdependence through Skip Downing’s wonderful book On Course. This textbook is used to help new college students learn strategies for success. One success strategy is interdependence. In On Course Mr. Downing describes interdependence as building mutually supportive relationships that help students achieve their goals and dreams, while helping others do the same. That’s good advice for all of us! We – absolutely – will be most successful when we ask for help when we need it and give help when someone else needs it.
In his July 2011 article entitled Interdependence Day(s): How to Create a Balanced Relationship in Psychology Today, Dr. Barton Goldsmith has this to say about interdependence:
The healthiest way we can interact with those close to us is by being truly interdependent. This is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. What they have is a balanced relationship…Living in an interdependent relationship gives you both respect and nurturing. What a nice way to go through life.
Back in ’72, Bill Withers was onto something! While he might not have conjured up the word interdependent, he had a wonderful way of explaining the concept…
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
’til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on
Let’s all reach out to both lend a hand and accept a helping hand.
You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on
Whether we call it interdependence or not, let’s get on board, my friends. We’ll all be better for it!
P.S. Here are a few variations of Lean on Me for your listening pleasure.
Michael Bolton – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpH7CXfDUUo
Audio only – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOZ-MySzAac
Audio with lyrics – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdlPVBvkr-s
2 thoughts on “Lean on me, when you’re not strong…”
Kate, I loved the article on interdependence. We have occasions to practice it in our family and it works fine. I love the song also, “Lean on me.”
Nzinga, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Certainly we all need to lean on someone sometimes…and return that favor when someone we love is in need. And I, too, love “Lean on Me.” The lyrics are so true…