Personal growth can’t exist without a dash of independence. Here are some habits you should have in order to become a more independent person. By Lianne Choo
Being a strong and independent person is not the simplest thing in the world to achieve, especially if you have been coddled your whole life. However, you must realize that independence is one of the most important qualities to have in today’s world. Not only will you have the freedom to carve out a future of your choosing, you will also feel more satisfied with life because you can confidently say, “I did it my way.”
Dependence on others extends to not just your spouse but to your parents, other family members, friends and colleagues. The same can be said for technology, the economy and the current political climate. All these factors have a role to play in how independent you can be. With that being said, you need to take control of your world and rely on yourself to succeed.
Habits of independent people
Leading an autonomous life can be achieved if you put your mind to it. All it takes is you making some minor tweaks to your life, and sticking with them. If you do not know where to start, fear not! Here are 9 simple things that you can do to start being more independent.
#1 Make more money. Money may be the root of all evil, but it is also your one way ticket to complete independence. Being financially dependent on someone else is a problem that most people tend to struggle with today. Whether it is still accepting handouts from your parents or relying on your spouse to take care of everything, try to break free from it all.
If you are a stay-at-home parent who does not have time for a 9 to 5 job, get a part time job or something that will allow you to work from home. If you are a full timer, perhaps it is time to start job hunting for something that will give you the chance to make ends meet.
#2 Use “me” instead of “we.” If you are married or in a serious relationship, you will know how important teamwork is in making things work. There is no denying that partnership is key when building a life with someone else, but independence plays a huge role too. When one party fully leans on the other for support, it makes the relationship harder to move forward as it is bogged down by the fact that one person has to shoulder all the responsibilities. Not only is this unfair, it is also inefficient.
Give your partner a little space and embrace the moments when you enjoy your individuality. Plan your own activities, pick up hobbies and indulge in things without your spouse every so often. You will find that doing things on your own will help you mature into a more independent being. [Read: 13 signs you’re being way too clingy]
#3 Solve your own problems. Here’s a tip: the next time you have a problem, treat it like an embarrassing secret that you do not want anyone to learn about. This will give you the opportunity to stop being so dependent on the people around you whenever you fall into a hole. If you are able to, do everything you can to keep your problem under wraps, sort it out yourself and only depend on others when you absolutely need to.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help but if you make it a habit of relying on friends, family, colleagues, parents and others in your life, you will never be able to grow a backbone and stand up on your own two feet. [Read: 12 tips to perfect the things you need to do]
#4 Set realistic goals. One way to be more independent is to set realistic goals for yourself. Instead of saying, “I am going to make a million dollars this year,” go with, “I will save 20% of my salary each month.” The more attainable the goal, the more likely you will be able to succeed on your own without relying on others to help or bail you out.
Another simple example is setting a goal for yourself to be promoted this year. Do not depend on your colleagues or team to make you look good. Understand that to succeed, you have to put in the hard work. [Read: 6 excuses that you need to stop making for yourself]
#5 Accept that failure comes with the territory. People tend to go running to their support system when they fail. Patterns and trends indicate that when people succeed in something, they take on an independent outlook on life. Whereas when failure comes into play, dependence on others for support and sympathy are inherent.
As normal as this is, you have to accept the fact that life is full of ups and downs. Failure comes with the territory, and you have to learn how to handle it on your own. Depending on others to bail you out, making them listen to you whine about it for weeks on end or counting on friends and family to pull you out of the mess you made should not be something you fall back on. Tackle independence head on by taking responsibility for your own shortcomings and fixing them.
#6 Stand your ground. One way to be more independent is to stand your ground and carve out your own beliefs. A reason why children rely on parents, spouses rely on each other, friends band together and so on is because most of the time, they share the same views on life or at the very least are looking in the same direction.
Falling in line will cause you to be dependent on others without realizing it, because you feel the need to seek everyone else’s approval before acting or speaking. This applies to viewpoints, beliefs and how you take on everyday life. If you have the strength to stand your ground, think outside the box and challenge the norm, you will gain intellectual and behavioral independence in no time.
#7 Widen your social circle. To be less dependent on your existing friends and family, you have to widen your social circle. When you make new connections and friends within your community, you tend to spend more time and energy getting to know them. This gives your core friends and family some reprieve from your constant dependence on them.
The wider your social circle, the more chances you get to partake in activities and viewpoints that you are not usually exposed to. This will give you the opportunity to mature and grow into a stronger, well rounded and more independent individual. [Read: 12 quick tips to add more people to your social circle]
#8 Get your own place. I know people pushing thirty who are still living like high schoolers. Horrifically, living at home with parents is no big deal. A particular example doesn’t even cook his own meals, drive, clean or do his own laundry. He turns 30 in spring. The funny thing is that he refuses to acknowledge the fact that he is taking advantage of his middle class parents and defends his lifestyle by saying, “My parents are like cool roommates.” Grow up, dude.
The way I see it, if you are still shacking up with your parents, you are nowhere close to being independent. It is understandable, if you are in a tight financial spot and are saving up to move out. But if you can afford to head to the club every weekend, take ridiculously expensive holidays and shop on a regular basis, you can certainly afford to get out of your parents’ house. As scary as moving out may be, you will be surprised at how eventful this change is going to be for you.
#9 Ask for help but don’t depend on it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. We are social creatures and need the support of others when undertaking challenges. If you fall into a rut, there is no shame in asking for help. However, do not totally depend on it.
Human nature dictates that there is a higher chance you will not try your best to succeed on your own, knowing that you have people to fall back on. Every time you are faced with a challenge, take your dependence on everyone else out of the equation and you will realize how much harder you will work to succeed. When you act like a lone wolf from time to time, you will understand just how strong you really are.
At the end of the day, true independence is a reflection of how confident you are with your capabilities. It also has plenty to do with self-love and self-worth. The stronger your feelings are for yourself, the more independent you can be. You don’t need to seek someone else’s approval or depend on others to show you the way.
It may not be easy breaking out of your cocoon at first but all it takes is a little perseverance and you are well on your way to becoming the independent being you always thought you could be.