It’s pretty amazing: 2016 marks the 240th anniversary of having declared ourselves a liberated nation, free from the tyranny and oppression of monarchical rule. 240! Wow, right?!!
As a nation, it is true, we have a substantial amount of freedom. What about as individuals? The individual freedom I’m talking about is inner peace and personal power. If we are not happy, joyous, balanced, and strong most of the time, we are not free.
Who/what are our tyrants and oppressors?
Internally, we can be ruled by self-criticism, self-pity, pessimism, insecurity, low-self-esteem, fear, anger, shame, and the like. Some symptoms of these are complaints, resentments, helplessness, lack of faith in the future, disappointment, and drama.
Externally, we can be overpowered by needing and seeking approval from others, getting pressured to do things we don’t want to do, and feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances, for example.
Most of us experience some of these some of the time. That’s just what it is to be human. When they are chronic, however, life is not fun, and they cause problems. Problems such as painful and chaotic relationships, and unpleasant and unmanageable work situations.
Our outsides are a reflection of our insides. Meaning, tyrants on the outside are usually an indication of tyrants on the inside. That is why we must seek personal independence. Meaning: inner authority, inner strength, inner peace. These give us the ability to respond to life in ways that are affirming – to life, self, and others. The problem is, when we are not well-versed in independence, it can be confusing.
What’s the difference?
Codependence is an unhealthy form of attachment. It is an exchange of dependency – I am not fulfilled, therefore I need that something in you to fulfill me. You are not fulfilled, therefore you need that something in me that fulfills you. Neediness draws people together and creates less-than-happy situations.
Counterdependence is an avoidance of connection, usually seen in the Lone Wolf Syndrome at best and bullying and narcissism at worst. As a society, we are highly codependent. Any movement away from that can feel like counterdependence. It is not, but that’s why independence can seem so confusing.
Independence is freedom from being controlled by other people as well as by one’s own motives, senses, thoughts, and feelings. It is a powerful, confident, centered, and balanced state of being. When we are truly independent, there is automatically a high degree of respect and generosity for self and others – the hallmark of healthy relationships. (Yay! Fireworks!)
Interdependence is the ability to interact in a couple or group without losing oneself. Strength of inner authority combined with respect and generosity allow for relationships that work, that are wonderfully fulfilling, effective, nurturing, productive, and empowering. This is true at home and on the job.
The quality of our lives is directly related to the quality of our relationships, and the quality of our relationships starts with the one we have with ourselves. Now that’s the freedom I’m talking about!
Ready to experience Personal Independence? Join me for my next Serenity, Power, and Freedom