As we prepare for the Fourth of July holiday and take a moment to reflect after a difficult 15 months, we can see the American Dream is evolving. For decades, the rhetoric and messages we have received have been about the importance self-reliance—that being self-made and independent is simply part of being American. But when the pandemic made the formal and informal social connections and communities in our lives instantly inaccessible to us, the repercussions were severe. We learned that perhaps being “independent” isn’t always in our best interest.
We’ve all internalized the narrative that to be successful we need to do things on our own, but we know from experience that success is rarely if ever achieved in a vacuum or on an island. Even though we know we need each other, we insist on denying our interdependence. We judge and shame others and ourselves for needing help—even though all of us need help at some point(s) in our lives. How much better would our world be if we could embrace our interdependence and let it inspire us to create solutions that benefit us all?