I really don’t know what it is about that me that screams independent. Is it the way I talk, or what I believe in or even my general appearance, I really don’t know. But somehow, people always get the feeling that I’m independent.
I honestly don’t even think of myself as independent at all. Since it would be hard for me not to text anyone from work even for a day, or even complain to my friends of all the drama in my life. I even consider conversations with people as the fuel for my life. I love being with people, to learn and understand things from different perspectives, to challenge or affirm my principles, I believe that’s one of the easiest ways to grow. And with that, I don’t understand why people still think I’m independent.
I guess, if I define independence differently than what it conventionally means, maybe I can understand why they would think that. Or at least I could infer from what I know from how people respond to things.
I think when people say independence, this phrase would always come to mind, “no man is an island”, and I think to some extent that maybe true. I guess that’s true in a sense that you can’t really live life all on your own. I mean let’s face it, even if you can sustain yourself physically, it would be humanly impossible not to be influenced by everything else. I mean given, you say you’d rather read books or just watch nature, but even that means that you are dependent on your surroundings. Because to me, dependence doesn’t just come from interactions with people, it also comes from other things. Such as the things that affect you and determine who you are. For example, a person cannot say they are independent when they would rather read books than talk to people, know why? Because you are still interacting with a person, maybe not a live talking one, but still a person who wrote the book. So you see, you cannot completely eliminate yourself from the equation of the environment around you, I don’t think it’s possible. From the moment you are born, you are dependent on the surroundings which is the reason why you’re breathing and thinking.
I think one of the main things that causes the distorted view of independence is that we misconstrue independence with freedom. To me, these things are synonymous, but they aren’t really the same thing. I think independence has something to do with things affecting you from the outside and freedom has something to do with how you perceive yourself and your actions. Independence exhibits how we are with the things around us and freedom pertains to what do we do, and those two things are completely different.
So if we go back to the definition of independence, maybe we can make things more clear when we say a person is “independent”. Because I think being independent doesn’t mean that you’ll become some hermit who lives in some island with no one to talk to and no one to interact with. It doesn’t mean that you need to close yourself off from people and not try to make relationships with people. It also doesn’t mean you are not capable of love and other kinds of relationships that require commitment. And it doesn’t even mean that you’ve shut your mind to other things or gave up on reality which means you’ve completely removed yourself from your current presence and created an entirely different life separate from everyone else.
To me, being independent means taking the word freedom seriously. I think being independent has something to do with how you carry yourself, of how much you value the freedom that you have and what you’re willing to do with that kind of freedom. It means that you rely only on yourself and in what you can do rather than hoping on someone else’s actions. It speaks of the responsibilities you take yourself accountable for because you really can’t say you’re independent and not take responsibility for who you are and what you’ve done. It also has something to do with realizing that the world has endless possibilities and it is up to you do find out what you can be able to accomplish. It’s believing that you have every capability to reach whatever it is that you want if you set your mind to it.
Independence doesn’t mean you have to be alone or do everything alone, it just means that you choose to take charge of the life you live, from how it goes to where it goes.