Well-Being//

The True Meaning of Freedom and Independence

Here’s a scientific approach to understanding the terms.

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST/ Unsplash
Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST/ Unsplash

Freedom from what? And being independent in what way?

Freedom to be you. Think, feel and act as you. Independent as an adult, without any other influence or any control. 

When we are born, we are dependent on our parents or mother for everything. The natural progression is for us to become co-dependent where we are pleasing others and our need to be needed is what drives us and determines our identity. Then we grow up to be counter-dependent where we become self-centered and not caring about others, happy that our needs are met by our parents. From there becoming a healthy independent adult where we learn to be in interdependent relationships. 

There are so many of us who are still stuck in these stages of dependence, codependency and counter-dependence and are not living as a functional independent adult. 

Our country was independent at some point, from there on we became dependent and our journey to be an independent adult nation and not being in an unhealthy relationship began. Before we became independent, we were co-dependent, pleasing the Britishers and the rulers before them, from there we became counter dependent by starting the rebellion, putting our needs first, to then becoming independent. 

The effects or signs of being a co-dependent:

  • Getting in an abusive or unhealthy relationship
  • Sense of no happiness or satisfaction in life besides fulfilling the need of others
  • Continuing to be in an abusive relationship in spite knowing how hurtful the other person is being
  • Losing one’s own sense of worth and self-confidence by constantly putting other people’s needs before
  •  Feeling guilty for thinking about their own self instead of others

How do we stay co- or counter dependent? Or what stops us from being a healthy independent adult? Being in a dysfunctional family or having an abusive parental relationship. 

So, what do we do then?

Let go of the past 

Just like our nation went through various phases (freedom struggle). To be an independent adult we need to let go of old redundant decisions and conclusions we made when we were co-dependent or counter dependent. Freeing ourselves of those old survival or coping mechanisms which are not helpful anymore and have the ability to constantly remind ourselves: “It was relevant back then but not anymore.” 

When we are going through the experiences, we let our conclusions, decisions and beliefs make us a slave of our own past. Being in the present moment by working on ourselves, our traumas or any kind of hurt we have experienced in the past helps us progress on our path to freedom and being independent. 

People who have been through abuse have learnt to let go of their abusive past and recognise their emotional needs. 

Set boundaries

Starting to put boundaries in our relationships, recognising and putting one’s needs first rather than sacrificing your needs for others in order to please them is a crucial deed your developing self-demands for. Separating your feelings from feelings of other people and not letting it dictate yours, is what setting boundaries means. 

Seek therapy if needed

It is always a good idea to go to a mental health professional to seek help. That would be the first step at recognising your need and taking action at putting it ahead. Regardless of what others think or suggest for your benefit, it is high time that you step up your independent self-portrait and help yourself get out of this dependent script of the society rule book. 

Seek therapy if needed because at the end of the day, you belong to yourself. Remember that even though we have surpassed the phase of slavery and are out and about living in this independent era, it is totally in our hands to decide if we have actually understood the meaning of freedom and are living as independent individuals.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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