Those of us living in the United States celebrated our nation’s independence last week. We had parades and anthems and firework shows all to celebrate our country’s independence. But what does it mean to be independent in our own everyday lives and how do we achieve and celebrate it?
Independent [adjective]: not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself
Being independent, at it’s base, means relying solely on yourself. It’s the ability to support yourself and to be happy with yourself and by yourself. Independence is not being a shut-in with zero relationships, it’s about living the life you choose, and not letting your life, choices, or happiness depend on the whims of another.
In reality, though, when our lives are crazy and we’re juggling fifteen balls at the same time, trying to keep them all in the air on our own isn’t realistic or even all that appealing. Complete independence isn’t what we are striving for. Increased independence is. Increasing your independence can help with your self-esteem, your decision-making abilities, and ultimately decrease your stress and increase your happiness.
On the path to independence you must first and foremost accept and love yourself. You are a fabulous person! You have great qualities. Others in your life see this and are drawn to you. They want to spend time with you, so you should want to spend time with you, too. Take some time to think about your positive characteristics and qualities. Learn to like yourself (if you don’t already, that is!). And then grow to love yourself.
Do this by boosting your self-confidence. Learn how here. As you become more confident in yourself you’ll be able to make more decisions and rely less on others. You’ll begin to feel more in control and more like the leading lady of your life.
Invest in yourself. We’ve just established that you’re worth it. Treat yourself to that dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. Take yourself out to the movies. Better yet, take yourself on a trip. Spend some time (and money) on just being you.
While you are out and about don’t care about what others think. So you’re sitting alone at dinner? So what? You don’t have to listen to a really annoying dinner companion like they do. And you can’t talk at the movies anyway so do you really need to know the person sitting next to you? Learn to enjoy spending time with yourself and don’t let anyone make you feel like that alone time isn’t important.
As you work on being more independent and self-reliant, the stress of having to always think about others will go away and your happiness with yourself and your life will improve. Eventually, we can all strike the balance between personal independence and healthy, beneficial relationships.