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The Importance of Being Independent

Not everyone possesses the ability to be independent. And, in some cases, being too independent can lead to isolation. However, this is learning to be self-reliant is incredibly important in today’s fast-paced world. And, it comes with the following benefits as well.

1. Boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem.

When you’re independent you have enough trust in your skills and capabilities to handle any situation. As a result, this builds up your self-esteem. And, eventually, you’ll have a more positive outlook on life.

2. Reduces stress and promotes happiness.

Susan B. Anthony once said, “Independence is happiness.” And, there’s a lot of truth to that sentiment.

“When we’re emotionally independent and have gained some confidence, we know that we can better manage our emotions and problem solve,” writes Fariha Newaz, LCPC, CADC. “When we don’t have to wait for someone else to solve our problem for us, it decreases our own stress.”

Life is already stressful enough, but “waiting for someone else to make a decision at times or to validate our choice can add additional stress,” she adds. “The better we are at addressing our own stresses can empower us, and being empowered gives us back that control. The more we can focus on the things we can control, the better we can handle our stress!”

3. Improves decision-making.

We make thousands of decisions each day. Sometimes it’s beneficial to take your time and collect all the relevant information before rushing to judgment. But, when decision-making becomes a chore, this can cause you to make a poor and rushed decision. For example, being indecisive about lunch could lead you to grab fast food instead of a healthy, more nutritious lunch.

Additionally, when it’s difficult to make decisions, this can hold you back from pursuing what makes you happy. As an example, you might skip going to the gym or getting a haircut because you don’t want to upset others.

4. Allows you to help others.

Being independent gives you the ability to care for yourself -- either emotionally, physically, or financially. As a result, you’re in a better situation to asset others. In turn, this increases happiness, promotes a sense of belonging, gives you a sense of purpose, and increases your life satisfaction.

5. Lets your experience inner peace.

You’re not being selfish when your independent. Instead, you’re more concerned about your wants and needs, as well as those you hold near and dear. That means you aren’t stressing over the unnecessary and what you can not control. And, this will lead to more inner peace and tranquility.

6. Ensures that you make yourself a priority.

Putting yourself first shouldn’t have negative connotations. After all, self-care is vital if you want to avoid burnout and relieve stress. Most importantly, it gives you time to reboot, figure out problems, and practice gratitude.

7. You can achieve whatever you want.

“By the time that you have figured out that how being independent has helped you, you can then go further than you thought possible,” says Newaz. “It opens up so many opportunities.”

“Instead of asking why something won’t work, you are in a mind space that tells you all the reasons why something could work,” adds Newaz. “It opens you up to new people, new places, new adventures, more creativity, more freedom…I could go on.”

“But because you have already tackled the better decision making, reduced stress, and that confidence, you know you can do anything which means you will go for more of what you want! This is how you grow, by challenging yourself to go for those things that might have made you uncomfortable and accomplishing it.”

How can you be stronger and more independent?

If you’re struggling with your independence, here are some ideas to help you become stronger and more independent;

  • Stay motivated by writing to-do lists and tracking your progress.

  • Get active through hobbies and physical activities.

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion.

  • Replace the negative self-talk with positive self-talk.

  • Do things by yourself, whether if that’s going to the movies alone to taking an online course.

Most importantly, start small. Each day do something for yourself, even if it scares you a little. For instance, go grab a coffee on your own or go for a 30-minute hike. You can use these as building blocks to develop your independence.

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