Dependence and Independence

Today, I’d like to talk about dependence and independence, what each of them is on the emotional level, and how one can become more independent.

Many times, when we talk about independence, it’s in reference to an interest in being able to do what we want to do. For instance, “financial independence” refers to being able to live without working. But for some, this still can mean dependence on financial independence.

Indeed, the freedom to be where one desires isn’t necessarily freedom at all, since one can still feel dependent upon that desired circumstance remaining. And when one’s desire isn’t there, it can feel as though things aren’t right until it is. What people are talking about here is independence as freedom from circumstance. Yet, it’s still very much dependent upon the circumstance one wishes to escape to, and remain in.

So what is dependence? I posit the following definition:

A state of being that involves “looking to get to” a circumstance, such that one craves it, feels one needs it, feels things are wrong without it, or may fear its absence. It can involve impatience, fixation, imbalance, suffering, emotional pain, fear, panic, and anxiety. It can lead to escapism, negativity, and frustration.

And what about independence?

A state of being that involves openness to all circumstances, whatever the current circumstance happens to be. Involves flow, and a sense of detachment from circumstance and everything outside of one’s control, including direct control. Generally a positive, free, authentic, open state, devoid of shame and very fluid, not holding on to the things that come and go in reality.

Thus you can see the differences between the two. Yet, all too often, we can slip into feelings of dependence, however ideal independence might sound. Continue reading

The Irresponsible Self

The part of myself who coaxed me to procrastinate. He carries around a lot of pain.

Ever been trying to get things done, and, whenever you think of an item on the list, you say to yourself, “eh I’ll just do that later.”? I bet you have. Procrastination runs rampant in the world and this little voice seems to be the one responsible for putting things off. Today I decided to see where the thought was coming from, and I found something intriguing.

On the surface, this irresponsible guy just says things to get you to put off doing what you really want to get done. He comes up with all kinds of excuses as to why you don’t really need to be doing what you wanted to get done. But the real question is, why is he saying these things to begin with? Why make excuses?

After talking with this part of myself for a little while, I could tell that he was carrying around a lot of pain. He got defensive, bitter, resentful, and told me straight out that he didn’t want to do some of the things I wanted to get done because they would be “too painful”. Now sure, any given task has its challenges, but this part of yourself uses the pain it’s already carrying around as an excuse for avoiding more pain, even if it’s relatively small.

I had to be very patient with this part of myself to avoid an all out fight. Understand that it can get so bad for this side of yourself that it would rather bury the pain deep within the subconscious than even talk about it. However, doing this reduces the chance of healing that pain by A LOT, because you have to go dig around inside with the express purpose of finding the pain. And who really enjoys doing that?

However, what my encounter today showed me is that it is an absolute priority, if we want to live without carrying around a burden of intense emotional pain, that we must find a way to get to the pain and let it out despite what this irresponsible side of ourselves says.

Now, that being said, it’s not easy to find that pain right off the bat, and that part of you may not even remember where the pain is stored anymore. So instead of stigmatizing this part of yourself, it’s OK to let it continue doing things that it enjoys doing to avoid the pain, as long as another part of you searches for it. However, this pain-ridden, irresponsible self might resort to harmful activities, in which case, it needs to be confronted.

So what’s the take away? If you want to live more freely, seek out your pain to let it out. Otherwise you’ll get caught in a routine of life that doesn’t satisfy your true needs, and doesn’t bring you fulfillment.