Independence means different things to different people, so it is hard to prescribe a list of steps everyone should take to become independent. Before trying to become independent, first determine what that means for you. Then, consider the following steps to break the chains and increase your independence:
- Become financially independent. Being financially independent is one of the main indicators of independence. Do you currently depend on family or other support to pay your bills and living expenses? If so, the first step is to get a job. If you already have a job but still rely on others, consider a second job, or apply for better jobs. Try to lower your expenses, and strive to pay all of your own bills each month. Work your way towards becoming financially secure, and start a savings account so that you will not need to depend on others if an emergency arises.
- Gain independence from roommates or family. Do you live at home or with roommates, and depend on them to help you clean, cook, or otherwise take care of the household? The steps to gaining independence will be influenced by how you are dependent on others. If your mother still does your laundry, start doing it yourself. If your roommate always does dishes, do them yourself. If you can’t cook, now is the time to learn.At the same time, understand that living with others, including roommates or family, necessarily means that you are somewhat dependent on each other to accomplish household tasks. It may be time to strike it out on your own so that you’ll have to be completely independent in this realm. A roommate is nearly always preferable to living with family if you’re trying to achieve independence.
- Achieve independence in your personal life. Begin planning your day around you, not around your friends, girlfriend, or boyfriend. People who are dependent on others allow their daily lives to be dictated by other people. Don’t be afraid to go to lunch or see a movie by yourself; this is part of being independent. Work on activities that allow you to do exactly what you want to do, instead of following others.
- Be independent at work. Stop looking to other people for instructions on what to do at work. Work more efficiently so that you can accomplish your share of the work. Depend on yourself to get your work done. If you’re still in school, stick it out. Otherwise you may always need to rely on someone to pay your bills. A degree can lead to a good job, which can help you be financially independent.
Being independent can be scary, but you have to learn to trust yourself and your own instincts. It is easier to rely on other people to pay your bills, take care of the household, and give you a social life, but it is far more satisfying to do these things independently.