We are moving from dependence towards independence. In the past, we were dependent on our communities, families, spouses to look after us, but now we are forced to take care of ourselves. This is a good thing. We need to learn to look after ourselves before we can help others.
Financial and emotional security comes from you
I’m only slowly beginning to see this. In the past I would expect my parents, friends or partner to help me out if I needed. Of course, I still hope they would do that, but I don’t want to rely on them to the extent that I get into the mindset of thinking “ah well, no need to save money or think about where I’m going to live in the future. If worse comes to worse my family or the state will look after me.”
Sometimes we might need others’ help, but firstly we should aim to set ourselves up as best as we can to be self sufficient in meeting all our needs by pretending we don’t have a support network to rely on.
Equality in relationships
The days when men would pay for women in restaurants or secure them materially in exchange for housework and child rearing are almost gone. Older people too have to be more independent in their later life, because often their children are far away and can’t look after them as much.
Some bemoan this sorry state of affairs as the loosing of family values, but independence gives us freedom and self worth. If you are reliant on someone for emotional and financial support you are controlled by them . You can’t be honest with them, because you fear losing them and the things they provide for you.
By relying on someone to meet your financial and emotional needs you are also suffocating them and taking from yourself the chance of creating your own happiness. Any independent and free spirited person cannot bear to have someone around that depends on them too much and wants to share everything with them and be with them all the time, which can sometimes happen in relationships – the inseparable couple syndrome.
If you are not good at providing for yourself emotionally or financially then learn it. Relationships are now between equals. They surely provide support, friendship and love but this cannot be in the right balance if one person is disproportionately dependent on the other all the time.
Make your own plans
Everyone needs to have their own plans for life, and a partner, family and friends are an important part of life, but there needs to be that knowing that I’ll be happy whether or not I am in relationship or if I have a supportive family or friends at this moment or not.
If I support myself, put myself first and make plans that do not depend on anyone but me, then I will know how to make myself happy all the time. If I rely on others to provide happiness for me then I can’t be happy for long, because I can’t control what others do and inevitably they will disappoint me as they’ll put their needs and plans before mine.
It might sound selfish but putting yourself first is the way to happiness. How many times have you done something when you didn’t feel like it and then felt disappointed when someone didn’t do the same for you in return, because they put themselves first?
Only by being selfish and putting yourself first are you actually creating more peace and happiness within yourself, by taking care of your needs and not doing what you don’t feel like doing.
If you are happy and at peace, you are going to emanate this to those people in your life instead of being frustrated and angry that you have done so much for others, or are running around wasting your energy on things you should be doing, when actually you’d actually rather be doing something else. If you are doing things out of this negative place, then the results cannot be good anyway.
By being selfish, you can be selfless. You can only have a positive effect on others if you yourself are feeling balanced. So putting yourself first is not really that selfish, as by doing this you will be happy and relaxed and so when those close to you really do need your support, you will be able to give it from a positive place of willingness and peace. By being there for yourself first, you can be there for others when they need you.
Photo credit: Kostya Kisleyko