“Independence is happiness.” Susan B. Anthony
No one is happy when dominated by another. All we have to do is look at a toddler who’s been told “No” to know that innately, we all seek to express ourselves. Indeed, we spend our young lives fighting for and seeking independence from our parents – wanting nothing more than the freedom to direct our own story. The problem is that for some of us, independence can be frightening. As soon as we gain our liberty, we go running back toward dependence – quietly pleading for another to take care of us. And while dependence on another can feel safe, it ultimately crushes our ability to enjoy and breathe in life. Whether its financial, emotional or physical security, dependence on another leads to discontent and resentment when we feel like we have no control over our own personal choices. In many ways, that is why our society focuses so much on financial independence. There is always an assumption that with money, we can finally be the captain of our ship. But, independence is more than just having money. Independence begins in our heart – it is the ability to know that no matter our circumstances, we trust our choices and ourselves to steer the right course. Independence leads to happiness because when we are self reliant, we are free. Freedom, then helps us build the confidence, trust and ease to live a happy and fulfilled life. Dependence, on the other hand, is what holds us back, keeps us stuck and feeling like a victim. And although many of us inadvertently find ourselves in unhealthy, dependent relationships, it’s imperative that we discover our own voice if we wish to live happier lives. And that doesn’t mean being outwardly defiant or rebellious – it means knowing with certainty what is right for you. Because in that simple knowledge is the freedom we’ve all been looking for in our everyday lives.
Weekly Path to Peace: Discover independence.
- Does your happiness lie in another’s hands? Do you feel uncomfortably dependent on another – like you can’t breathe or make a choice that feels right for you? Have you lost the ability to know what you want or need? Spend time this week discovering and journaling all the ways you have hidden, given away or turned down your independence – your ability to know what is right for you.
- Celebrate your independence. Rather than blame others for your circumstances, this week, take one step this week toward independence. Whether you simply share an opinion, test out a new habit, or look for a new job – do one simple thing this week to help you gain more freedom and self-reliance.
As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change