Have you ever wanted to be less reliant on others and be more independent? Do you have moments when you wish you could be more self-reliant and let those close to you worry less about you?
People who are independent seem to know what they want and how to go for it. They appear more confident and happier. They can take care of themselves and others as well. They appear to have their own thoughts and they are not easily influenced by the opinions of others. They are the go-getters when it comes to their decisions and actions, sometimes like a maverick. They take responsibility for themselves, their thoughts, and their actions.
If you have always thought about standing on your own two feet but are still unsure about how and where to start, here are five ways you can get on your way to being more independent.
Know Who You Are
You can only be who you want to be when you know who you are. Find out who you are at your core.
What makes you happy? What irks you? What are your favourites? What are your non-negotiables? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are the things that you really enjoy doing and would hate to compromise for others? What decisions do you make for yourself? Are they major life decisions, or are they mini-choices you make on daily basis? What do you stand for?
When you know who you are, you will be able to work on ways to improve yourself and gain the freedom that you want. Only when you understand yourself, will you be able to embark on your own journey to independence. Get clear about what you want to achieve before you start working towards it.
Take Back Your Power
One of the major factors of being independent is to be free from the control of others. Learn to rely less on others to do things for you, to take care of you and to make decisions for you.
How well are you taking care of yourself? What does your family say about you when it comes to being independent? Do you always need them to bail you out? Do you manage your spaces well (cleanliness of your room, car, or desk)? How can you demonstrate to them that you won’t be a cause of worry? Take your power back.
Do you constantly lean to others for support? Do you have trouble speaking your mind because you don’t seem to have a voice of your own? Are you often swayed by the opinions of others? Perhaps there are times when you already have a decision in mind but a word from your best friend or a comment from your sibling made you change your mind, and you wonder why you could never make the decision for yourself. The more you lean to others for approval, the harder it is for you to be independent.
When you lean on others for approval or permission to decide, you are giving your power away to others. Start taking your power back and you will slowly free yourself from the control of others. Learn to accept your own decisions, get comfortable with decision-making, and build up from there. The more you practise decision-making, the more you will learn to be more comfortable with the decisions you make — even though at times you may make mistakes.
Practice Thinking Independently
Thinking independently means exploring your choices, weighing the options for yourself, seeking opinions from others (for reference, not approval), and making the call for yourself. Perhaps it might end up being a wrong call, but that does not mean that you should stop and give your power back to others.
For instance, you might want to move out of your parents’ house after you have graduated and found a job — which is great, except that your close-knit family objects to that idea. It might help to explore why they do not agree with you moving out. Could it be finances? Could it be that you are the youngest and everyone dotes on you so much that they worry about you living alone? Maybe they’re worried that you will visit less?
What other reasons could there be? How can you inform them of your decisions while considering their doubts? Have you always been good at taking care of yourself? If not, how can you start? That might mean you start making your own bed, making sure you have regular meals, taking care of your health, handling your own rent and bills, and so on.
Part of being independent also means thinking for others. When you think from the perspective of others, you might be able to gain deeper insights and apply them to various aspects of your life. Understanding that there are two sides (or more) to a situation may let you view situations differently and more objectively.
Being self reliant also means that you know when to seek assistance. When you are lost or confused and you want to give up your power and allow others to decide for you, remember that you have the option to ask for help when you need it.
Don’t know how to cook? Learn by watching step-by-step cooking videos or printing recipes.
Not sure which course to take for your degree? Find a few people who have done the course you are interested in and ask them for their advice, but use their feedback as reference and not as a decision-making call.
Asking for help does not mean you are weak or surrendering your control further. It means you are strong enough to find out what you need to do to move forward.
The more you explore, the more avenues you will find available to you.
You can explore by visiting new places, or you can tap into the minds of others through reading well-written books. Learn from others how they handled various situations in life that you have no exposure to.
Attend events when available and ask questions. Absorb the experiences of others and apply them to your own situation when you can.
There are many other ways to explore — solo traveling where you instantly learn to be more independent, volunteering yourself to be a team leader for a project, making your daily small choices without consulting anyone, embarking on other projects like craft projects or baking without depending on anyone, and so on.
Sometimes, we get pushed into situations where we have no choice but to grow overnight. Though it can be necessary for our survival and our development as individuals, it can be hard on us to learn things the hard way.
When we proactively learn to be more independent so that we live our lives with control, we are generally empowering ourselves to think and act based on what we think is right for us and those we care for.
We need to learn to be independent in this interdependent world because that is how our individuality arises and how we grow to be more of who we are, not how others want us to be.
Today, be responsible for yourself and start taking steps to live with more independence.
Featured photo credit: PablO via pablo.buffer.com