The best thing about being independent is you can rely on yourself to get things done – which usually means you get more things done. You have confidence in yourself – to make decisions and to confront situations that go against what you believe in.
Independent people are not afraid to speak out if what is being said is not right or fair. If you are an independent person, you know you can trust your judgement or, at least what feels right to you. Gosh – and it’s great for your self-esteem as well as your confidence – always a desired attribute.
If you were to worry about what others think of you, you would never be able to be yourself, and could end up second guessing yourself. That’s no way to be.
Can you imagine an independent child (under 10 years of age) in the 50’s with a controlling mother who was not always logical or believable? It didn’t bode well for me if, in front of my mother – I displayed too much independence. However, both my parents were amazed when they received bills from our dentist because I’d decided a tooth needed to be checked, or when they received more bills from an orthodontist because I decided to have my teeth straightened because I’d sucked my thumb since birth and now at 8 years old I was aware they were looking crooked.
You can’t express independence without first having independent thoughts. I was attending a weekly church service and the minister was holding forth about doing the right thing. He quoted from the bible “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Being not only curious about everything, I was also not backward in asking pertinent questions which for many people of that era, was considered very precocious – and on many occasions, I was rewarded with a good trouncing.
But this thing the minister was saying did not make sense to me. Why – only the week before, I had picked some daisies from a neighbour’s front garden to give to my favourite auntie. I proudly offered them to her and was met with a shriek as she ran out the door. I was confused – what happened? I found out that she was allergic to these daisies and was never again bring them into the house again.
So I put my hand up during that church service and kept it up until the minister was compelled to ask me what I had on my mind. I promptly told him that the verse in the bible was incorrect. (I do remember the parishioners sitting in front of me turning around – some looked most annoyed while others had smiles on their faces). The minister kindly asked me why I thought so and I told him about the daisies.
I then told him the text should be ‘Do until others as they would have you do unto them’. I remember the church goers cracking up with laughter and the minister good-naturedly told me that that would have been much better. I do remember feeling quite proud of myself for speaking up. It would have continued to bother me if I hadn’t.
I learned early in life that having a mind of my own and being prepared to share it got me into a lot of trouble. And there were times I knew to back down in the name of self-preservation. But that didn’t mean I stopped trusting myself and my thoughts. I got to learn that sometimes it’s best to keep some thoughts to myself.
I don’t think I ever thought about how independent I was until decades later. I was now in my 40’s. Having experienced widowhood at 28, a divorce from an unethical crooked lawyer (another story) in my late 40’s, I was now in a relationship that I thought was heaven-made. He was bright, funny and attentive. But within 2 years I knew something wasn’t right. I was truly in love and whatever it was I didn’t want to face it. It was only when the hard truth hit that I realised that this independent person (me) had become co-dependent on someone who was false and disloyal. I had been willing to be someone else to please, a cruel realisation that this had happened over short three years – I had ‘lost’ who I was and had not listened to my inner voice.
Things happened quickly after that. I ended the relationship and regained my sense of self. A big lesson, and one that had been coming for some time. Since then, I have been my own best friend.
That’s the pity of relinquishing one’s autonomy, sovereignty, whatever you wish to call it for something or someone that has you feel that the real YOU is not good enough. You have always been good enough.
Being independent can mean you have longer lasting relationships that are healthier because you are true to yourself – and therefore to your partner and those around you.
You can rely on your judgement, and follow your own counsel. You can cope with most situations independently and feel less anxious or stressed. Even if you have a wonderful circle of friends you can always rely on – at the end of the day, being independent means, you can handle things easier.
If you want to practice more independence, the following suggestions could be a start.
- Define your boundaries. They are essentially an expression of your core values. If they are too wishy-washy, you will end up feeling like a door-mat and resentment most often sets in. Define them and honour them.
- If communicating your thoughts and desires is difficult for you, it might be useful to attend a ‘communication skills’ workshop. Just a thought.
- Get to love time on your own. What do you love doing? Reading? Listening to music? Studying a topic you are interested in? Meditation? Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Enjoy time being in your own space.
- Understand what you are not able to control, and let that go. Healthy concern is one thing, control is another.
- If you notice that you are easily distracted by the opinions of others, especially when they are emphatic about their point of view, remember your opinions are important too because they reflect your values and beliefs. Don’t discount them.
- If self-loathing is something you give time to – stop it! See a therapist.
The value of being independent is that we choose who we listen to and decide whether their thoughts are worthy of consideration or not. We are free to make decisions and free to change them when needed. We are more inclined to seek truth by researching and develop a keen sense of what is prejudice and what is based on sound information. When we reach decisions for ourselves, it’s easier not to be influenced by mainstream media or the ideas of the multitude.
At the end of the day, be your own hero, your own best friend and make your own decisions. You will love yourself more and feel a freedom that you might never have experienced before.
Contact Us and let’s talk.
Evelyn Lundström AICI CIP
Executive Presence & Personal Brand STRATEGIST | Image COACH | Corporate TRAINER | AUTHOR | PRESENTER