July 03, 2017
For a number of reasons, our levels of independence/dependence vary throughout the course of our lives. Things happen, circumstances change and without warning, we can become more dependent on others. To some extent, this is unavoidable and exactly the reason why we are instinctually inclined to build a strong support system around ourselves via our friends and families.
But if you consider yourself to be a primarily dependent person even under “normal” circumstances, it would be beneficial to take a closer look at how your own actions are laying the groundwork for codependency. With America ready to celebrate Independence Day, there is no time like the present to examine the state of your own independence.
Being independent means something different to each person, so it is important to examine your definition of independence. Write down your own definition of independence. What does the ideal independence look like to you?
Ask yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how independent do you currently feel?
If 1 is feeling completely dependent on others and 10 is feeling completely independent and self-reliant, where do you rank yourself currently? Give yourself a number.
Then ask yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you want to rank your independence?”
In a perfect world, how independent would you like to be on a scale of 1 to 10? Again, give yourself a number. This number will be different for everyone as complete independence is not necessarily desirable for some people.
Perhaps you currently feel that you are a 5 or a 6 on the scale of independence and you would like to see yourself at an 8 or a 9. Take note and draw confidence from the fact that you have rated yourself above a 5, acknowledging that you feel more independent than not. If you have rated yourself below a 5, think about the factors that may be contributing to those feelings of dependence and write them down.
Now that you know what ideal independence looks like to you, think about what actionable steps could you take today to move yourself higher on the scale? Picture the ideal you. What have you done on a day-to-day basis to get there? What three things could you do this week to move yourself closer to the ideal you? Only you know the answer to that question. Write those three things down.
Refer back to your three actionable steps in no more than a week’s time. If you are feeling very dependent, you may want to carve out a few minutes to check in with yourself each day. What progress have you made? Acknowledge small achievements and know that even the tiniest change is moving you closer to your goal.
A few things that may help build confidence and independence:
• Worry less about others opinions of you.
• Try to make decisions without consulting everyone you know.
• Surround yourself with other independent people.
• Keep the focus on how you feel and what you really want rather than what other people feel or want.
• Find a few things that you enjoy doing alone.
Remember, everyone feels dependent on others at some point in their life. The difference is recognizing if your dependence is circumstantial or habitual. If you are habitually dependent on others, I hope this information can help guide you down a different and healthier path. Use the self-awareness and mindfulness tools above to lead the way.
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I hope you find this information as helpful as I have. Please feel free to share your stories here. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Follow me for updates @christiemandia.