Independent selves view themselves as individual, unique, influencing others and their environments, free from constraints, and equal (yet great!). This is the sort of self that mainstream American culture overwhelmingly nurtures.
Interdependent selves, by contrast, view themselves as relational, similar to others, adjusting to their situations, rooted in traditions and obligations, and ranked in pecking orders. Many other parts of the world support and reflect mostly interdependent selves.
Given your cultural exposures, do you tend to be more independent or interdependent? Or are you equally both? To help you sort your self out, we suggest you use this scorecard:
To complete the scorecard, think about the culture cycles with which you have interacted for each of the rows. If you have mostly interfaced with independent cycles for a given culture, then give yourself a 1 in the “Independent” column and a 0 in the “Interdependent” column. But if you have rolled mostly with interdependent culture cycles, then mark a 1 in the “Interdependent” column and a 0 in the “Independent” column. And if you’ve interacted with both, then write a 1 in both columns.
In the case of “Hemisphere,” if you have lived your whole life in the United States, for example, you should probably give yourself a 1 for “Independent” and a 0 for “Interdependent.” But if you have spent all your days in Korea, you should mark 0 for “Independent” and 1 for “Interdependent.” And if you’ve grown up mostly in the United States, but spent summers in Korea with family, then you get a 1 in both columns. After you score your self for all eight cultures, add up the columns. The totals will suggest whether you tend to use your independent or interdependent self.
Exactly how your cultures come together to make your self is a big question. We do not mean to imply that you should be able to fi gure it out during your drive home from work or your summer vacation. But by contemplating all the culture cycles of which you are a part, and how they intersect within you, you may gain a greater understanding of your self.