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How to Be Emotionally Independent & Stop Using Others for Happiness

If you want to be in control of your own life, you need to learn how to be emotionally independent and free yourself of outside influences.

How to Be Emotionally Independent

In the modern day, we’re surrounded by so many things and people that it’s hard to figure out where your own voice comes from. There is some good news! You are able to learn how to be emotionally independent, it simply takes time and effort to reach your goal.

Are you a people pleaser?

Maybe you’re dependent on your iPhone, perhaps you’re addicted to social media, or maybe you’re so keen pleasing everyone else that you ignore that nagging inner voice telling you to do what YOU want to do.

The bottom line is this—you cannot be truly happy when you’re pleasing everyone else. If you’re dependent on something or someone, you’re never truly in control either.

Wouldn’t you rather be pleasing yourself, the one steering your own ship?

[Read: How to live a good life that you will love and cherish]

Many of us don’t realize that we’re actually dependent on something or someone else, and it’s only when that thing or person isn’t around anymore that we start to realize the extent of the problem.

Being emotionally dependent on something is in your head, that’s a truth, but it takes some effort to free yourself from its chains. When you’re dependent on something or someone, you’re never able to make a firm and solid decision. You’re vulnerable to the underhanded tactics of other people, and you’re never really sure of what you want or where you’re going. It’s not a recipe for happiness or fulfillment.

[Read: Are you codependent? 14 signs you totally rely on your partner for your happiness]

How to be emotionally independent

Not sure how to be emotionally independent? Let’s explore the subject in a bit more detail.

#1 Acknowledge the problem first. You can’t make any changes in your life if you don’t acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place. It’s not easy to admit that you’re under the influence of another person, or you’re dependent on something. But you can’t move forwards unless you do.

Sit down and think carefully. Be honest with yourself and pinpoint the thing or the person that you’re so dependent upon. Once you’ve acknowledged this and admitted it to yourself, you can move towards making progress. [Read: How to quit attracting unhealthy relationships]

#2 Get to know yourself. Do you know who you really are at your very core? You can’t learn how to be emotionally independent if you’re not your own best friend. That doesn’t mean that you like everything about yourself. It does mean that you accept yourself for who you are. Acknowledge that you’re a whole person who deserves the same respect as anyone else.

When you’re dependent upon someone or something, it’s likely that you lack a certain amount of self-esteem. Recognizing your strengths and pushing them forward, while also acknowledging your flaws and making a pact with yourself to improve them, is the biggest step forward you can take. [Read: Is negative thinking ruining your life?]

#3 Stop beating yourself up about things that have happened. It could be that you’ve become dependent because something has happened in the past. And it knocked your confidence down. You can learn how to be emotionally independent again. First, you should explore what happened and let it go.

There is no point in dragging baggage around with you. It won’t help. Nor will it change the past. All you can do is learn from it. So, look for any lessons you can learn and vow to take the necessary steps to do so.

Accept that you might have made mistakes in the past. Embrace them and acknowledge that mistakes make you a human being. You can’t have a constant string of regrets in your life if you want to be happy, healthy, or independent. [Read: 5 life altering lessons you can learn from regret]

#4 Ask yourself who you’re making decisions for. When you have a decision to make, what do you do? Do you sit down and think things through logically while listening to your own inner voice? Or, more likely, do you ask those around you what they think and go with the majority voice?

This is your life. You cannot live it for someone else. You must make decisions that sit well with you. It’s the only way you can reach the end of your hopefully long life with few regrets. If you ask someone else what they would do, you’re always going to be living a life that’s not truly yours.

One of the most important steps towards learning how to be emotionally independent is starting to make decisions for yourself, no matter how small. [Read: How to stop being codependent and start finding yourself]

#5 Understand that things and people come and go. Life doesn’t stay still and that means that sometimes you’ll wave goodbye to people you care about and things that you want to stay in your life. You don’t have control over everything. And you must let go of the reins and allow life to flow. That’s one of the biggest steps you can take towards happiness.

By becoming super-attached to things or people, you’re showing your dependence in a big way. Sure, it’s nice when people are in your life who you enjoy spending time with, but if they decide to leave your life, is it really over? Of course not! You had a life before them. You’ll have one after too.

Dependent people develop strong attachments to people and things and when they disappear, the sense of grief can be overwhelming. Understand that you’re a whole person in your own right and that life will flow in and around you. Either way, you’ll be fine. [Read: 12 signs of fierce attachments that are extremely unhealthy for you]

#6 Own your choices, come what may. Make decisions for yourself, but also own those decisions and choices completely. If they go wrong, there’s no hiding. If they go right, celebrate them. You can’t be right all the time nor can you be wrong all the time either.

Taking responsibility for everything you do and choose in life is one of the key features of being independent. You simply can’t learn how to be emotionally independent without doing this. Sure, it’s scary from time to time. If you fail, you might take it hard. Remember that every failure is a learning curve that you can choose to respond to a positive way. [Read: Should you worry about justifying your life choices?]

#7 Don’t take everything to heart. People will criticize you, people will hurt you, and people will say things they don’t mean. This is life. This isn’t a reflection of you, it’s a reflection of them. As long as you’re treating people with kindness and compassion, let everything else go completely over your head.

Emotionally dependent people tend to take criticism extremely personally. They see it as a slight on their character and assume that the person giving the criticism just doesn’t like them for some reason. That’s not always the case; perhaps the criticism is meant to be constructive, i.e. something for you to learn from. [Read: How to balance asking for help and being stubborn – The secret to independence]

You’re a person with your own opinions, just as everyone else is. Don’t take everything so personally. And soon you’ll soon learn how to be emotionally independent as a result.

[Read: Secret to happiness? Your uncomplicated guide to a happy life]

As you learn how to be emotionally independent, you’ll notice that you feel more confident. The more you rely upon yourself, the more in control you’ll feel and the sense of being completely at the mercy of others will disappear.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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