If you’re a follower of Beyoncé *let’s be honest, who isn’t, even if passively* then you’ll know that you need to be fierce and you need to be independent, no matter who you are. The thing is, there is a fine line between being independent and being stubborn. If you want to learn how to be independent in the right way, you should know what not to do as much as what to do.
Firstly, what is independence? Is it about standing on your own two feet? Is it about never needing anyone else? It’s about neither of those things in reality; even the most independent of people occasionally need help.
You should always be open to the advice and guidance of those around you. Independence is actually about knowing yourself and feeling capable of your own power.
[Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 steps to realize you’re so worth it!]
How to be independent in the best way possible
Of course, learning how to be independent means a little soul searching and actually learning who you are underneath it all.
It’s a true journey of self-discovery! Of course, every journey starts with a first step and that means you need to know which direction you’re going in. Let’s explore a few points to remember on the way to your final destination.
#1 Keep a journal. If you want to learn how to be independent, get to know yourself on a deeper level. So, keep a journal. Write down your experiences every day and how you feel too. This will help you notice things you might be missing.
For instance, maybe you notice that you do a lot of things to please other people and don’t really focus on your own needs. You might have written down something along the lines of wanting to go to a particular restaurant for dinner, but your friend suggested another place. So you just went along with it. If this happens a lot, you might have people-pleasing tendencies. It’s something to address over the long-term. [Read: Are you a people pleaser? 20 signs most people just don’t see]
#2 Ask yourself why you think and believe the things you do. Sometimes we go along with opinions or habits simply because we don’t know anything else. For instance, if your parents told you something when you were younger, you might just accept this as truth. You didn’t know any better at the time. And you never thought to test it out as an adult.
You might also carry a lot of self-limiting behaviors with you, i.e. you think a certain thing that stops you from going out and doing something that you’d really love to do. Challenge these thoughts, opinions, and behaviors. Ask yourself why you believe them to be true.
Is it really you who believes them, or has someone else put it into your mind? Part and parcel of learning how to be independent is knowing your own mind at your very core. [Read: How to get to know yourself and reveal your life’s true passions]
#3 Learn to say “no.” Do you often go along with things that you really don’t want to do? Like when someone asks you to do a job for them, you don’t have the time, but you say “yes” anyway. This is another example of a people pleaser. But if you truly don’t want to do something, you don’t have the time, or you just don’t feel like it, it’s perfectly fine to refuse.
Of course, do it in a polite way. And, don’t go around saying “no” all the time, but putting your own needs and time first is something an independent person does. That’s your aim. [Read: How to say no, stop people pleasing and feel awesome instead]
#4 Learn how to be assertive without being arrogant. There is a very fine line between assertiveness and arrogance. You need to learn how to be assertive, e.g. make your point and make people understand that you mean what you say, without being cocky or too in their faces.
Part and parcel of being assertive means that you know your boundaries and you stick to them. Saying “no” more often is one of them. When you say “no” or you do something, do it with force, but a gentle force.
You do it or say it and don’t question it. And you don’t show that you might be changing your mind. You mean what you say, and you do what you say you’re going to do. That’s how you learn how to be independent. [Read: How to be assertive and learn to speak your mind]
#5 Learn how to own your decisions. When you need to make a decision, do you often ask for several opinions and go with the majority of what other people think? That needs to change. You need to make decisions based on your own thoughts, opinions, research and gut feeling.
Sure, you can ask for someone else’s opinion on something. But if you don’t agree with it deep down, you don’t have to go that route. Own your decisions as yours and yours alone.
#6 Make self-care a priority. An independent person puts themselves first on occasion and understands that self-care needs to be a priority. Of course, the balance here is that you don’t go putting yourself first all the time, because that would simply mean you’re being selfish.
But, occasionally, you know that you need time to yourself, and look after your own needs, wants, and desires. You also know that it’s okay to do this and don’t feel bad about it. [Read: Inspiring ways to bring out the best in yourself]
#7 Avoid being stubborn. So, how can you learn how to be independent but avoid being stubborn? It’s an easy trap to fall into, but you should always ask for the guidance of others in life if you’re not sure which way to go. In the end, you should always listen to your gut. That’s how you avoid falling into the stubborn trap.
Learning how to be independent will benefit you in several ways. Your life will be enriched by knowing yourself, knowing what you want and putting yourself first occasionally. Balancing that up against knowing when to put others first will mean that you develop strong and healthy relationships which are beneficial in both directions. [Read: How to be mean to people without turning into a mean person]
Of course, when you’re independent, you’re also someone who knows what they want. You’re more likely to go out there and get it! Whether you’re strutting around like Beyoncé, or you simply exude a quiet confidence that others admire, an independent person understands that at the end of the day, all you really have is yourself.
As negative as that might sound, it’s actually a positive. When you focus on yourself, while ensuring that you’re also a caring and giving person, you’re covering all bases.
[Read: How to face people who put you down and grow from within]
Learning how to be independent comes down to knowing yourself inside and out. Do you know yourself right now? If not, explore your inner psyche. Make a new best friend in yourself.
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