We all know the unpleasant feeling of being dependent on someone or something. You remember all the times your parents gave you money for something, you needed to take the bus (and thus had to comply with its schedule), borrowed something from a friend and so on.
You felt uncomfortable and a little disappointed by the fact that you had to rely on others to survive your day. Then, as you were growing up, you realized that you can do most things yourself. You gained knowledge, started a job, found your own place, increased your income and got out of debt, bought a car and everything you needed… and became independent.
Or at least you thought so.
You settled down and everything was looking great at that time. But then many thoughts started popping up in your head. Many unpleasant memories, unsaid words, feelings and emotions you didn’t enjoy, even people from the past.
It was all in your head, that’s for certain. But it became much more important and crucial and suddenly you couldn’t enjoy all the things you’ve accomplished and worked so hard for. Maybe you abandoned your inner world because you were concentrating too much on the outer stuff – with its material objects, people, circumstances and primary needs. Suddenly, all that was inside started to affect what was outside and the balance was lost.
At that moment, you became emotionally independent. Mentally independent. And spiritually independent.
And worse, you realized that you’ve always been that way.
Emotional independence is a state of mind which we have all experienced at some point. It’s when your mind is full of uncertainty, you don’t take decisions for yourself, other people manipulate you and affect you in some way (usually negative), you let everyone treat you the way he wants and feel vulnerable, dependent, weak and confused.
It is often said that with all the things going on in the world today, we just can’t become fully independent. But there are some things to work on that can keep it to a minimum and let us be free and enjoy life.
How to Become Emotionally Independent
1. Accept yourself.
Stop denying who you are or who you were. It’s nice to have a great desire to improve yourself and become that new ‘you’, but first you have to get to know the one you have now.
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
In my opinion, one of the worst ways to live your life is to be stuck in your past. To constantly get back to it, remember past events and people and to be full of regrets. Some people always think that they could have done better if things had been opposite. They wish they hadn’t done this, or said that.
It’s a vicious circle and once you’re in it, you forget to live your life and soon end up being a sad person with no joy and dreams. Please, don’t do that.
Here is what you need to do:
- accept your past with all the failures, mistakes, wrong decisions and regrets;
- let it go – there is no place for it in your bright future;
- forget the unessential – have a minimalist approach to life, eliminate the non-essential things and set your mind free;
- forgive others, forgive yourself, forgive life for all the bad circumstances it put you in (but also be thankful);
- learn from it – draw a lesson from every mistake you’ve ever made.
3. Decide for yourself.
Living consciously and independently requires making reasonable, logical decisions, and most importantly – ones you take on your own.
Stop relying on others to do things for you, talk on your behalf, or manipulate you only because they are more decisive, sociable or in control of the situation.
Define exactly what you want from life and don’t be afraid to say it out loud. You will also need to trust yourself and become more confident in what you say, do or think.
Think for yourself and even if you make mistakes, accept that and just try to do better next time. But don’t let others push you, change your mind and decide for yourself.
4. Don’t get too attached to people.
Everyone loves his family, kids, friends, pets and relatives, but some people tend to get too attached to others and that rarely ends well.
We do our best when we act as individuals and have our own point of view. So spare some time to analyze your relationships with the people in your life and decide whether you are too dependent on someone.
If you see the world through someone else’s eyes you most probably depend too much on them.
It’s better to expect less from others, so that they won’t disappoint you, because that will hurt your feeling and won’t bring peace to your mind.
5. Take full responsibility.
This is something you’ll have to do one way or another if you are willing to reach success, happiness, mental stability or emotional independence.
It means that you are completely aware of your thoughts, actions and feelings and accept them as they are. Take responsibility for how you feel, because no matter what, you are the one who chose to feel that way.
Realize that you are the only one who is responsible for everything that has happened to you. You are in charge of what you say, how you look, how you react to things, how you feel and how you behave.
Understand that, take responsibility and move on. It will be much easier this way.
6. Accept judgement and criticism.
People love to talk about others and to point out their bad sides. They do it all the time. But how you are going to react is up to you.
Whatever you do, there will be someone to judge it. So don’t try to please everyone and answer people’s expectations. I know that every human being wants to be accepted by others and we feel good when they like us… but we are dependent on people’s opinion.
To start living a free and peaceful life, you need to stop yearning for attention and acceptance and to just do what you think is right.
It’s better to trust your intuition and heart rather than relying on what society thinks is right.
The best way to react to criticism is with understanding. Try to put yourself in the position of the one judging you and who knows… maybe he has a point there and you are doing something wrong. Or by judging you, he is actually expressing how he feels inferior to you. Or maybe he has some issues and this is the only way he can let all the anger he keeps inside go.
Express compassion, be kind and show love. Most of the times this is all people need and the minute they receive it from someone, they give the same in return.
What about you? Do you consider yourself emotionally independent in some way? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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