How to be Independent in a Healthy and Loving Way

How to have healthy independence, even in a close relationship

What does it mean to be independent? Does independence require us to be separate and detached from others, free of commitments and obligations? No. Hyper-independence is unhealthy. When you have healthy independence, you are free to be yourself and free to love, because you are free from the past, free from negative thinking, free to take risks and stand up for what’s right. That’s true emotional independence.

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Healthy Independence

Healthy independence Is...

Freedom from external forces. A person with healthy independence doesn’t let their environment or circumstance dictate their behavior. If a fight breaks out, they can keep their head. If someone insults them, they don’t need to insult back—they can return right for wrong. When all the lemmings are headed over a cliff, they can go the other way. They don’t try to be different on principle, but when integrity requires it, they can be different. They aren’t tied to any kind of programming—be it religious dogma, upbringing, or cultural fads and norms. They think for themselves.

A truly independent person feels free to interpret experiences constructively. They won’t indulge in irresponsible, blaming, or victimized attitudes. They won’t turn away from love because they had a bad experience, however painful. They can love in an unloving world, be generous in a greedy world, and bring sanity where there is none. Healthy independence means: no matter what you’re handed in life or how you’re treated, you stand firm on your soul’s true values, and be the change you want to see.

Freedom from internal reactions. Healthy independence starts in the mind. If you’re a slave to reactivity, you’re in no position to follow your heart. Because, as you know, our heart’s responses are often opposite from our emotional knee-jerk reactions—like a woman who runs away when she falls in love; or a man who withdraws when he’s sorry. An independent person directs their life in a way that makes their heart happy.

“I may not be in the best mood, but this mood is not
going to define me or limit me. I will rise above it,
and be a constructive and loving person anyway.”

Freedom from the past. Many people live their lives as if their past holds a gun to their head, telling them, “Because you did bad in the past, you’ll always do bad in the future. You failed once, you will fail again.” Would a person of healthy independence allow themselves to be controlled by their past? No way! They’re free to change direction, forgive and forget, overcome old habits. They can make a break from the past, let go of it, and live free of it.

Freedom to love. In healthy independence, you stand free of every box and live by heart, with true integrity. You are free to live and love as the person you are.

Healthy independence is different than hyper-independence. People of healthy independence can serve without feeling degraded, and respond to the needs and desires of others happily. They will take plenty of initiative to be a source of goodness in the world and in their relationships. Free of imaginary chains, they will know themselves, give of themselves, and freely love.


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