What does independence mean to you?
In any situation you can think of. What does it mean to you?
You can think of it on a small scale or a big scale.
If you search the definition of “independent”, google will tell you this:
- free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority.
- not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence
“Not depending on another for livelihood subsistence”. I want to reflect on that definition a little more with you. I think the most important part of that definition is when it says “not depending on another”. I think that alone is SO important. The rest of the definition is ‘what’ we depend on, and I think that ‘livelihood’ and ‘subsistence’ is too vague for what I’ve seen so many people depend on other people for. I think ‘subsistence’ refers to support for another person on a minimum level in order to survive (including, food, money, etc.).
In today’s world, being dependent on someone has become so much more then the need for food, water, shelter, etc. I’ve seen people who have all that and have that without much help of someone else but depend on people for other things… and the biggest being happiness.
We depend on others to make us happy much more then we realize. We depend on it everyday. In fact, I know very few people who I truly believe don’t rely on another person to make them happy. This is shown mostly in today’s relationships.
I am talking about this with you because I can say confidently for the first time in my life, I have become independent. I have strayed away from the idea that I need someone in my life to make me happy. That, for whatever reason, I can’t do it myself. Yes, it’s always nice to have someone that’ll pick you up on your bad days and make you smile when you’re down, but the difference is that you can’t EXPECT that from a person. Your mom, dad, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, etc. Once you starting expecting that, then you start relying on it. Not only is that not fair to whoever you may be depending on for this happiness or comfort or whatever it may be, but that constant disappointment will start occurring (when they can’t always uphold that expectation) which will make you unhappy with yourself and everyone around you.
Yes, I have many people in my life who are very loyal to me and making sure I am okay on a day to day basis. I am grateful for that. But the problem was that those people that do that for me, they aren’t perfect. They aren’t happy every single day either. They have bad days too. I couldn’t help those people on their bad days like they helped me because I expected them to drop all their anger and sadness or whatever it was, to try to lift me back up.
When you sit and think about it like this…. how SHITTY is that?????? Like thats really just not okay.
If a person/people care enough to make sure you’re okay on a day-to-day basis, then think about how much your emotions must truly effect them.
But I’ve finally taught myself what it means to be independent. In every aspect. On a smaller scale or a bigger scale. The idea can be deep to you or it may just be a word that means “I do whatever I want”. It is deep to me though, because I’ve been in bad places before and it was because I lacked happiness and I searched for happiness in just about anyone and everything BUT myself. I didn’t ever realize that key to finding happiness was first finding independence.
I’ve finally understood and accepted the saying, “you don’t NEED anyone”. The moment you say and believe you need someone is the moment you’ve made yourself dependent on someone else. When you’re married or in a relationship, I think that’s the hardest thing to want to accept. You don’t “need” the person you’re in a relationship. I remember when my therapist first told me that, I was shaking my head and I was like “yes, I agree” but in my back of my head I was like, “?????????? no??????”. But it’s taken a lot of me to understand that she was right. You simply don’t “need” anyone. Needing leads to depending, depending leads to expecting, expecting leads to disappointment when the expectations are not met, and disappointment leads to unhappiness.
There is nothing more important then yourself and your own happiness but lets not get any of this confused with being selfish. Your happiness can still be number one to you and you can still be a self-less person. You just have to figure out how. For me, in order to be the best me that I can be for myself and other people, my happiness MUST come first. In order to make others happy, I have to be happy with myself.
There are so many ideas and concepts that coincide with each other. Just like I mentioned earlier about how needing leads to depending and depending to expecting, etc. etc.
I think independence is a very hard thing to provide for yourself in a world where we literally depend on everything on the smallest levels… technology, electricity, etc. But I encourage to dig deep down to find all the things or people that you depend on. Ask yourself what is it about that ‘thing’ that makes you depend on it? Money? Food? Happiness? Then start to dig deep down to help yourself achieve all those things you depend on from other people.
Nothing is more important then your own happiness especially with the world we live in today where depression seems to be normalized.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. – Marcus Aurelius Antonius