From personal experience, I believe that we can be dependent on three different things: other people, objects, or habits. There’s nothing wrong with being dependent on others in certain situations. We’re human and sometimes we need to lean on and be with others. Trust me, it’s normal. But it does become an issue when you are dependent on others to the extent that you can’t effectively go about your day without someone by your side. The same can be applied to objects and habits – sometimes they can be helpful, but they can also be harmful when heavily depended upon.
Unhealthy dependency can take many forms. Here are some examples:
- Depending on a person for confidence or affection
- Depending on others to accomplish tasks
- Needing someone to help you process and work through hard situations
- Constantly wanting people around for entertainment
- Being dependent on an object to cope (ex: foods, substances)
- Depending on a habit (ex: looking at your phone when you first wake up, watching hours of tv when you’re bored)
Becoming independent is not easy. It requires regularly bringing yourself out of your comfort zone to change previous beliefs and behaviors.
Independency from People
As you’d expect, the way to become independent is taking a step back from other people. My first tip is to learn how to hang out with yourself. Stop constantly asking other people to hang out just to prevent you from being bored. Instead, find a hobby that you can invest your energy in when you’re alone. And if you’re wondering, that hobby shouldn’t be watching Netflix. Find something that actually fulfills and excites you. Blogging has been a great hobby for me because I always have a go-to when I’m bored!
Ever since moving to a larger city, the main thing that I’ve struggled with is doing things in public on my own. In the past, I’d find a friend to tag along so I wouldn’t be facing things alone. While it was nice to have someone do it with me, I found myself always procrastinating to match other people’s schedules. Eventually, that got really annoying. The resolution for this has been blunt and straightforward – I’ve told myself to suck it up. People won’t always be there to hold your hand, so it’s better to learn how to do things on your own now. So, suck it up and then find a way to reward yourself after completing the task. For example, if I go to the grocery store alone, I’ll allow myself to grab a Mountain Dew. It sounds silly but I normally don’t let myself drink them, so it’s just a small reward for getting out of my comfort zone.
Another way to be self sufficient is by learning to process hard situations on your own. In all honesty, no one will care about your problems as much as you do, so you may as well learn how to handle them on your own. And again, people aren’t always going to be there to hold your hand. We all handle hard things in different ways, so it’s up to you to figure out the best way for you to go about that. (I handle problems by journaling and praying to process and understand. I also like running to release stress.) Just take the situation into your own hands and ask yourself what you need to do in order to move on. Of course, you can still reach out to friends for help or advice, but keep in mind that they aren’t your therapist.
You can also grow in your independence by practicing regular self-reflection. Why? Self reflection is taking the responsibility to grow, and that personal growth is important because you need to be happy with you in order to “hang out” with yourself, to rely on yourself, and to trust yourself. Become someone who inspires you and you will create the confidence that you need to be independent.
Disconnecting from your phone can also be a huge help in becoming more self sufficient. Even if you are choosing to spend more time independently, you aren’t really alone until you can turn off the phone and truly disconnect from other people. Take an hour out of the day to put the phone away and spend intentional time on what’s important to you.
Lastly, to my ladies.. Stop relying on a man to complete the “manly” tasks! Right after a breakup, I was moving into a new place so I built a desk and a huge set of shelves. I had to use all of my strength to move them around my house, but I did it. I swear I’ve never felt more independent and empowered. You are stronger and more capable than you think.
Idependency from Objects and Habits
I think the easiest way to become independent from objects and habits is realizing what triggers you to give certain responses, then training yourself to react differently. Here’s some examples:
- Object: Comfort food
- Trigger: Uncomfortable or stressful situation
- Habit/Reaction: Using comfort food as a coping mechanism
- Change: Change the way you respond to the trigger by choosing a different habit than eating when stressed (ex: run instead of eat)
Checking your phone before getting out of bed in the morning
- Object: Phone
- Trigger: Waking up
- Habit/Reaction: Checking texts, social media, etc
- Change: Change the way you respond to the trigger by establishing a task (other than checking the phone) to accomplish when you first wake up
To bring this post to an end, I’d just like to say that independence is powerful. Being able to fully support yourself is a hard task, but it will bring you so much success. So invest energy into yourself, spend time with yourself, trust yourself, and you will do great things!