My Greatest Triumph Is Having Achieved Emotional Independence
One of the greatest personal achievements you can make is complete emotional independence. This occurs when you take full responsibility for yourself without being dependent on anyone, without needing to be validated by anyone to fight for what you want and deserve with dignity and grace.
It isn’t easy. Emotional independence is an aspiration towards personal growth that not everybody truly achieves. This kind of autonomy can be defined as the capacity to make decisions according to your own will, and there are many walls, barbed-wire fences, and fierce enemies that keep people from achieving it. External pressures and self-sabotage often limit people in this regard.
“If you can’t love me the way I deserve, then leave. Somebody will have to be able to enjoy who I am.”
This psychological construct is behind many common dynamics that may or may not be familiar to you. Every parent, for example, tries to encourage proper emotional independence in their children. This is a skill that can make them feel much more capable when it comes to thinking, feeling, setting goals, and accepting consequences.
There’s a lot of literature on the subject of emotional dependence and relationships where one member has the power, while the other accepts it and stays quiet out of fear, blind love, or even cultural pressure. The flip side, which self-help books don’t talk about as much as they should, is emotional independence.
Control and domination
We should all start to reflect on the fact that people who don’t know how to control themselves are the ones who try to control others the most. These people lack emotional maturity and need to control the people they love the most so that they can reinforce their own self-esteem and validate the power they have over them.
Like we said at the beginning, it’s pretty difficult to put an end to this dynamic, especially because there’s almost always an anchor buried in the ground that chains people to dependence on certain powerful figures like their father, mother, or partner. Networks of control and domination are the most delicate and resistant kind, because they’re reinforced by the most volatile kind of love that exists, the kind of love that takes away oxygen, life, and light.
Life doesn’t always let us enjoy total, absolute autonomy. However, we do have the power to decide in our favor. This is where emotional independence becomes most relevant. In the moment we’re able to develop enough mental clarity to regain our voices and our dignity, we’ll be able to say what we want, when we want it, what we don’t want, and who we don’t want in our lives.
So let’s rise up as our own indisputable models of power.
How to achieve emotional independence
Rising up and asserting your emotional independence involves developing self-efficacy. In order to build a strong identity that ensures your integrity, makes decisions, takes responsibility for the consequences, and gives you a positive attitude towards life, you have to journey into yourself to become aware of a few things.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Learn how to start the journey by following the steps below.
The foundations of self-efficacy
If somebody else makes your decisions for you, you won’t feel capable. If you expect them to resolve your problems, validate your ideas, give you permission, or tell you where you should and shouldn’t go, you’ll never develop enough self-efficacy. Remember, even if you doubt yourself, even if you’re afraid, even if you don’t feel capable, just do it. Choose to act for yourself.
- One of the biggest enemies of emotional independence is pseudo-autonomy. This involves complex situations, which occur especially in romantic relationships, where both members deceive themselves in a very destructive way.
It’s when you tell the other person to “do whatever you want,” “tell me what you need,” “whatever you say is good with me,” “go out with your friends tonight if you want,” etc., when in reality you expect the opposite. You have to know how to manage these implicit demands if you want true emotional autonomy in the relationship.
Emotional independence also says that nobody has the right to tell you how you should feel. “You’re okay with where you are,” “this is what’s good for you, “this is what will make you happy, not the foolish ideas in your head.”
- Many of us know very well what the components of emotional independence are. We know them because we know what self-esteem, assertiveness, and resilience are. However, despite having that knowledge, we continue to encounter emotional roadblocks.
Perhaps we should take Erich Fromm‘s advice and “dare to be free.” Because sometimes, that’s all it is: taking a risk, taking a step forward, and becoming who you really want to be.