Our culture holds self-reliance in high esteem.

Consider our heroes (real life and fiction), our leaders, and our favorite personalities. We like them to be strong, capable, and independent.

Yet social and psychological research tells us emotional maturity is closely tied to healthy relationships and the ability to be authentic about our vulnerabilities and our need to rely on others from time to time.

Citing books about happiness and positivity, an article about connection* and happiness on Public Broadcasting System's This Emotional Life website stated:  “The ideal of ‘rugged individualism' is a myth. Humans are social creatures; we need social networks to survive and thrive. Even independent, self-reliant people need to connect with others. The happiest people are those with strong relationships with family and friends.”

I've always been an independent sort, turning down offers of help and trying to do everything on my own. Age and maturity have shown me this is not the best way.

Consider a wooden match stick, one end held in each hand. You can easily snap it in two.

But hold several wooden matchsticks and try to break them when they're bundled together. You can't do it.

We're stronger when we stick together.

* Sources cited in the PBS article:

Happiness, by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener
Happiness Is Contagious by Salynn Boyles
Positivity, by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph. D.
The How of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubormirsky

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