Independence, in any form, is when you are secure with yourself. This could be in the form of paying your own bills or being able to fulfil your own emotional needs. We often forget how important it is to be emotionally independent. Here’s ways to get you started:
Leave the past behind
This is easier said than done. You have probably heard this a million times and read it in every self-help book. But how much have you truly tried it? Deleting an ex-partner from social media isn’t enough. Let’s say for instance, you were cheated or betrayed in a relationship with your partner in the past. Do not try and hide it behind walls of denial.
Sit with yourself and recap everything that has happened, tell yourself those were situations that you clearly had the strength to overcome. They are matters of the past and will always remain there never to return. So why are you in the present holding on to that baggage? Forgive or forget whichever you choose, get it out of your system.
Use your own head; it’s yours for a reason
Do you constantly find yourself agreeing to everyone else around you at the cost of your own happiness? Check your behaviour pattern to see if you are always waiting on others’ actions to make you happy or sad. For example, if a friend cancels plans, does it immediately make you unhappy or if your partner is in a bad mood, does that affect your mood too?
It is natural for us to be influenced by the behaviour of the people around us, but not to an extent where we forget our own feelings. Stop carrying someone else’s bag of worries. Let yourself feel emotions whether they match with the people around is secondary. So the next time you feel happy about something make sure it has something to do with your accomplishments and not someone else’s actions.
We might be on the right path but our confidence is so tightly hooked on to another person’s views and opinions, we doubt ourselves. If you feel you are doing the right thing, believe it. Truly. Don’t let anyone else influence you otherwise. If you feel you need to walk away from a toxic relationship, do it.
Do not let society or anyone influence you in any other way. Once you believe in your actions, express your own opinions and hold true to them, chances are people will take them more seriously and begin to respect you for them.
Dump the trash
What happens when your trash can at home gets too full? You either take out the trash or let it fester until it overflows and you are forced to throw away the garbage. Similarly, there is only that much of emotional garbage you can pile on to yourself or blame yourself for. After that, you are definitely going to have to do something about it. So let the clearing out begin. Stop blaming your parents for an unhappy childhood that makes you a pessimistic person today. Stop blaming a past relationship for your present commitment issues. Dump the trash and you will find it easier to rise and be happy.
Accept yourself and all your flaws
You might not have the height of a model or be as successful as your colleague or even earn as much money as your friend. But that is ok. Stop comparing yourself to others; you have no idea what their journey is all about. Accept that you have flaws but don’t dwell on them.
Concentrate on the positives. So what if you may have less money? Think about your loved ones who support and care for you unconditionally. Agree to the flaws you might have, and work towards improving them but remind yourself how lucky you are in other aspects so you can stop focusing on other people.
Set your own controls
Isn’t it annoying when someone changes the channel when you’re watching TV? Similarly, when you’re in a certain emotional state, but then shift to another due to negative external factors, it makes you feel different, whether you feel it immediately or later.
Be in charge of your emotions. If you just want to be left alone and do not want to go out, stick to your guns. When you let yourself be emotionally dependent on others you follow them blindly ignoring your own feelings which will slowly build up resentment and unpleasantness and bring forth a sense of low self-esteem.
Have realistic expectations
More often than not, we find that others are unable to meet our expectations, be it with emotional support or the attention we seek. We might always expect a tad more than what we get.
Sometimes, we justify it by saying we give so much, so we should get equal in return. However, everyone isn’t tuned in the same way you are. A regular level of expectation for you might be an unrealistic demand for another. Hence limit your emotional expectations so there are fewer chances of your feelings getting smashed. This will also make you realise not to depend too much on others and dwell deeper for your own happiness.
We regularly strive to be physically fit and financially secure. Perhaps we can throw emotional independence into the mix too? It’s just something to think about.
- Sanobar Mistry is a journalist and is currently a teacher in the UAE