2. freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like,of others.
noun2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation,etc.3. the power to determine action without restraint.
These are words we’re all familiar with and love to flaunt around whenever we get the chance. For some people, independence is the first time they get a job, or when they get their license, because that leads to freedom. For others, it’s when they move out to go to college, etc etc. You get the point. We know the definitions and how these words apply to us and some of us think that because we’re finally grown-ups, we’re exempt from influence (mostly from our parents).
What I’ve come to discover in the last few months is that complacency and the need for a comfort zone can chip away at that independence below the surface. While we go on making our decisions, thinking that we’re making them freely and damn it, “it’s my life,” we don’t pay attention to the subtle hints that our decisions are actually being influenced. [I promise I won’t get too philosophical on you.]
Mostly, this influence is harmless for harmless decisions.
It gets dangerous when you work hard for your independence only to find yourself burrowed in a ‘safe, comfortable situation’ that’s keeping you from pushing your limits too far.
I found myself having to make difficult decisions lately. I had to actually pause and face the decision head-on. A decision I’ve been avoiding because I considered everyone’s feelings but my own. I went into protective mode when the person who was really hurting was me.
Whenever I start completely ignoring my own feelings and worries, Andrew always reminds me of the airplane crash scenario.
You must put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help the person next to you.
I hold my breath and wait until every single person has their masks on. Next thing I know, there’s no air left for me.
So I’ve been suffocating.
My close friends have been waiting for me to finally realize I was out of oxygen. They listened to me whenever I vented without any action. I made excuses. I weighed every decision, except for the one I needed to make.
The kicker was when multiple friends who are in different circles (some who haven’t even met each other) and have been in my life for as little as a year and as long as 7 years told me the same thing:
“I’ve been waiting for you to make this decision for a while.”
The one thing you can’t forget is that you are not alone. You have people who love you. The ones who see the real you through the bullshit walls that you sometimes put up. When you lose faith in yourself or you forget how strong you are, let them remind you.
You’ll probably push them away. They’ll push back. You won’t be ready to let them in immediately but that’s why they’re there.
A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.
They’re patient. They’ll wait until you’re ready – until you look up and say “Alright. I’m ready and I’m scared beyond belief. I want the truth. Let me have it.”
And they will.
You know what ‘freedom from influence‘ really means?
That moment you stop making excuses, strip away the ‘what ifs’ and actually put yourself first.
It means faith and trust in the unknown. Because your ass will go into uncharted territory and sometimes, that means you go into it with just your gut feelings and the decision to find what you really want in life.
You know what?
Sometimes, that just plain sucks but I promise, you’ll pull through
One day at a time.