Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary defines independence as the freedom to organize your own life, make your own decisions etc., without needing help from other people.
Studies have shown over time that women are more likely to be dependent on others than men are, and often have more difficulty establishing their independence. However, this does not portend weakness in women, rather, it means there was something in their background that was not balanced as it should have been.
According to Maggie Scarf in her book ‘Unfinished Business: Pressure Points in the Lives of Women,
“Women are statistically more depressed because they have been taught to be more dependent and affection-seeking, and thus they rarely achieve an independent sense of self. A woman gives her highest priorities to pleasing others, being attractive to others, being cared for, and caring for others. Women receive ferocious training in a direction that leads away from thinking ‘What do I want?’ and toward ‘What do they want?’ They may be in danger of melting into the people around them and fail to realize they are an individual with rights and needs and they need to establish independence”.
The quest for independence does not mean we do not need God or other people. In actual fact, we cannot do anything without God because we were created for Him, and to do His Will which cannot happen except we depend on Him. Needing God and needing people is not a sign of weakness. We can feel complete when we acknowledge our dependence on God.
A balanced independence is what we should seek, and that is being able to trust God and other people, yet establish one’s individual identity. In order to establish this balanced independence, there are certain things we must do, which are found below.
- Handle their own situations. One of the most important things strong and independent ladies do is to handle their own situations, good or bad. Speaking for yourself is something everyone should be doing anyway, but strong, independent ladies never have trouble making their voice heard and ensuring any decision involving them directly is a reflection of their choices. It’s not bad to rely on people; but to have the knowledge that you can handle the situation is powerful in itself.
- Never stop learning and improving:An independent lady never stops learning or trying to better her sense of knowledge about the world or subjects. It’s a sad thing when people stop being interested in the world around them, or decide to remain set in their ways, and not learn or explore any new point of view or topic or challenge themselves.
An independent lady moves on to people whose opinions she cares about, and never lets anyone stand in the way of her education, passion or personal improvement.
- Stay away from toxic relationships. The law of attraction usually means that independent ladies should flock with other independent ladies and guys. However, sometimes they find themselves with other people who are dissatisfied, petty, angry, or just generally toxic. If you can’t work through things with your friends, then it’s time to cut the strings and let them go. An independent ladynever lets the toxic actions of another person affect her — whether they’re a random coworker or a close friend — and often, an independent lady allows the relationship to dissolve. Hanging around in a toxic friendship or relationship is never a good thing and is something strong, independent ladies never do.
- Do something outrageous. Doing something outrageous means different things to different people. For one, it might mean climbing Mount Everest, while to another, it might mean changing a lifetime habit.
We are not created by God to merely do the same thing over and over until it has no meaning left at all. God is creative and so should you be. God is quite outrageous and frequently changes things up in our lives. We should take a cue from Him. Don’t get into a rut. Keep your life fresh and exciting by trying out some outrageous things once in a while. Not silly or senseless things but outrageously creative and different for you.
- Fight Off Stagnation. Everyone is capable of sliding into stagnation if not deliberately fought off, because it happens a little bit at a time, and so slowly that it is almost unpredictable. Only rare individuals are willing to swim upstream when its easier to float downstream like everyone else.
To fight off stagnation, you must be deliberate. You must purposely take care of your responsibilities as a lady. Whatever it takes for you to keep your life interesting, do it on purpose, because it will make a big difference in the quality of life you live. Don’t just put in your time here on earth, enjoy your life and make the world glad that you came.
- Break Free from People’s Expectations. An independent lady wouldn’t allow the people around her to determine her values or behaviour pattern. The earlier you realise that you have limitations and that you cannot keep everyone happy all the time, the better for you. A person who knows how to live independently does not allow the moods of other people to alter theirs. You should change people positively, and not allow them change you into a negative person.
- Cope with Criticism. No matter how much you try, you will be criticized by someone, so you must learn to cope with it and not let it bother you. Every great man or woman has learned at one point or the other how to cope with criticism and not let it affect them. We must know our own hearts, and not allow others to judge us.
Each time someone criticises you, ensure you make a positive affirmation about yourself to yourself. Don’t just take in everything everyone wants to dump on you. Establish independence by having your own positive attitude about yourself, and don’t be defeated by criticism.
- Say ‘No’ If You Need To. An independent woman must learn to say ‘no’ to whatever she does not believe in, or does not align with her core values. In actual fact, anyone who says ‘yes’ all the time is headed for disaster. The earlier you decide if you’ll spend the rest of your life pleasing other people at your own expense or not, the better for you.
A courageous lady can say ‘no’ when she needs to. She can endure people’s displeasure because she knows she is free to make her own decisions. Sometimes, you may have to say ‘no’ to others in order to say ‘yes’ to yourself, otherwise you will end up upset and resentful, feeling that while trying to make others happy, you displeased and lost yourself. You are equally important.
- Have Your Opinion. As a woman, you are entitled to your own opinion, but that does not mean you should always give it to others. An independent lady should resist letting popular opinion become hers simply because it is popular. It is very important that you know what you believe and why you believe it.
- Complete dependence on God. God created us as individuals who need each other. We function best when we work together. Combining gifts and talents gives us the best result. Hence, we must depend first and foremost on God, and then on people (certainly not everyone), but our dependence on people must remain balanced, and never you forget that people are made up of flaws and imperfections. Only God is perfect.
God is the only Person we can never do without. It doesn’t matter who is against you as long as God is for you.
A confident woman knows that with God, all things are possible. Our confidence must be in Him more than it is in anything or anyone else.