What Independence Is and What It Isn’t

Raise your hand if you have said or done any of these things:

“No, no I got it, thanks” and proceeded to carry something that was too heavy…

Get mad anytime someone does something for you…

Refuse to ask for help, because you want to prove to yourself that you found what you needed…

If you raised your hand on all three of these things, chances are you’re, by nature, an independent and somewhat stubborn, but determined soul. Like me! haha.

In all seriousness, though, this post is going to talk about what independence is and why it isn’t always about how much you can handle on your own. So lets get started!

What does being independent mean?

Let’s refer to the dictionary, shall we?

So essentially, being independent means that you are not influenced by anyone’s authority, beliefs, or that you don’t really think about receiving help. Being an independent person, is admirable in many ways, because who doesn’t like a one-woman show?

You make your own moves.

You make your own decisions.

You make your own money

You are your number one fan and supporter (because why not?!)

You do it all, on your own, with little to no help along the way, right?

However, as with anything in this life, there’s also the down side. As human beings, we often long for some sort of reassurance, advice.

We may like doing things on our own accord, but neglect to realize that sometimes (or most of the time) we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s one thing to be independent, which is fantastic, but it’s another thing to be independent and make conscious decisions that won’t screw you over in the long run.

While you may like being independent, you also want to know if you’re going about things the right way, like are you making the best financial decision when buying a car? Are you making a sound investment taking out a loan for school? Is buying a house or apartment right now a good idea?

These are some decisions we have to make.

Yet they’re also the decisions that can change the course of your life.

As empowering as it is, being independent doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to separate yourself from any sort of help.

You can be independent, yet still live at home with family.

You can be independent and still be a stay-at-home mom.

You can be independent and live with roommates.

I had a friend, whose overarching argument was that they, “pay [their] own bills, work a full-time job, never had anything handed to [them] on a ‘silver platter’, and worked to pay for [their] tuition…”

I could go on, but it’s comments and beliefs like that, that really skew the definition of independence.

For the longest time, this overarching belief of “ooh look at me, I do it all by myself” affected my view of independence because I thought that I was doing it all wrong.

I later realized that independence isn’t about how much you can take on by yourself, without any help, but it’s how you are able to use your independence for good. Which brings me to my next point…

Why it’s not always about how much you can handle on your own…

Being independent isn’t always about being the only one to do it. It’s also about how you are using your own independence and contributing to the greater good.

How can you use your abilities, as a young person, to help out people like your parents, grandparents, and other relatives?

It’s all about how you can use your gifts and talents to contribute to your living environment.

Independence isn’t just seeing what you can do for yourself, but it’s also being conscious of where you can help others who aren’t in your position.

It’s more than ‘paying your own bills’, it’s getting over yourself and making sure that those around you have everything they need in order to thrive in the world.

Some examples include:

helping out your family or roommates get groceries

taking a family member to the doctors

running errands for your parents

picking up your siblings or relatives from school and/or work

cleaning the house

Made too much food? Let your family know that you made too much and that you’d be happy to heat it up for them.

The list could go on, but what I am trying to say is that independence is not limited to just one singular definition. It isn’t based on how much you can do on one hand, but it’s also based on how you can leverage that one hand to not only help yourself, but others who need the help.

It’s essentially helping each other mutually get to a place where you’re both able to thrive, in many ways.

I think we just redefined independence!

Sending love and light your way,

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