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Humans are emotional creatures, therefore some situations or circumstances in life may bring out the worst in us. As social creatures, we are interconnected with one another. Our emotions can affect not just ourselves, but also the people around us.
Take dating for example. I have been on the receiving end of someone who became mean or insulting, simply due to rejection. You would think I was ending a 40-year marriage, as opposed to peacefully or stoically turning him down.
The interest simply wasn't there for me, but he couldn't handle it. This is just one example of how our emotions can get the best of us when it does not make sense.
There have been more severe cases of both men and women being on the receiving end of someone's inability to reign in their emotions or becoming too connected way too fast. In a “microwave” society, the emotional consequences can be pretty severe when we do not get what we want or get it fast enough.
That is why it is important to have emotional independence. It is the only way you can be in control of your emotions and not allow them to control you.
What You Will Learn
- What is Emotional Independence?
- Emotional Independence Doesn't Mean We Don't Need People
- 11 Steps to Become Emotionally Independent
- Step 1. Be Mindful of Your Emotions
- Step 2. Accept Your Emotions
- Step 3. Don't Let Your Emotions Control You
- Step 4. Find Healthy Ways to Express Your Emotions
- Step 5. Be Assertive
- Step 6. Set Boundaries
- Step 7. Practice Self-Care
- Step 8. Seek Professional Help if Needed
- Step 9. Be Patient
- Step 10. Seek Out Emotionally Independent People
- Step 11. Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
- Final Thoughts on Being Emotionally Independent
What is Emotional Independence?
Emotionally independence is having the ability to regulate your emotions so that you are not too high or too low. You are in control of your emotions and not the other way around.
There are many benefits of being emotionally independent. These include:
Using Logic for Decision Making
When you are emotionally independent, you are more likely to use logic instead of emotions when making decisions. This is because you are not too high or too low and can think more clearly. Some decisions should be made with your heart, but most decisions should be made with your head.
For example, you should not buy a house because you are in love with the way it looks. You should buy a house because it is a good investment and it is affordable. The house should also be safe with a solid structure.
If you are emotional, you might not be able to see the difference between what you want and what you need. Being able to use logic when making decisions is very important because it can help you stay out of debt, make wise investments, and avoid getting into trouble.
When you are emotionally independent, you are more likely to be able to reduce stress. This is because you will not be as affected by the emotions of others.
If someone cuts you off in traffic, you will not get as angry and you will not let it ruin your day. You will be able to brush it off and move on. Another example is dating. You won't lose your mind over a simple crush that does not reciprocate your feelings
Becoming emotionally independent can help you reduce stress in your life because you will not be as affected by the emotions of others.
Become More Productive
When you are emotionally independent, you are more likely to become more productive. This is because you will not be as distracted by your emotions.
You will be able to focus on your work or studies without getting sidetracked by your emotions. For example, if you are sad, you will not be as tempted to wallow in your sadness and watch Netflix all day.
You will be able to push through your emotions and get things done. This can help you achieve your goals and reach your potential.
Emotional Independence Doesn't Mean We Don't Need People
Just because you are emotionally independent does not mean that you do not need other people. We are social creatures and we all need human interaction, and have various emotional states depending on the situation.
What it does mean is that you are not too dependent on other people. You can be around people and enjoy their company without needing them to make you happy. You can be by yourself and not feel lonely. You can be fine with your friend being friends with people who you are not friends with.
You are also more likely to have healthier relationships when you are emotionally independent. This is because you will not be as clingy or needy. You will be able to give your partner the space they need and you will not get jealous easily.
11 Steps to Become Emotionally Independent
Now that we understand how emotional independence benefits our well-being, let's see how we can take the right steps to achieve it.
Step 1. Be Mindful of Your Emotions
The first step is to be aware of your emotions. You cannot control your emotions if you are not aware of them.
Start by observing your emotions throughout the day. Notice when you are happy, sad, angry, or afraid. Do not judge your emotions, just observe them.
You can also keep a journal to track your emotions. Write down how you are feeling and why you think you are feeling that way. This can help you become more aware of your emotions and understand how they affect you.
Step 2. Accept Your Emotions
The second step is to accept your emotions. This does not mean that you have to like your emotions, but it does mean that you should not try to suppress them.
Suppressing your emotions can lead to more problems because they will eventually come out, often in destructive ways. It is better to accept your emotions and healthily deal with them. Have you ever heard of crimes of passion? They are often the result of someone suppressing their emotions for too long.
Step 3. Don't Let Your Emotions Control You
Not letting your emotions control you will help you make better decisions and gain respect from others.
For example, if you are feeling angry, do not lash out at the person who made you angry. If you don't get along with all your partner's family or friends, don't make a big deal out of it and start arguments.
You may end up hurting your loved one in the long one. So just focus on your main relationship with your loved one and don't let emotions related to outsiders ruin things.
Take a few deep breaths and calm down before doing or saying anything. If you don't like someone at work but they are good at their job, congratulate them when they do something well instead of being petty.
Step 4. Find Healthy Ways to Express Your Emotions
There are many healthy ways to express your emotions. Some ways include talking to a friend, writing in a journal, or going for a walk.
Find the method of expression that works best for you and make sure to do it regularly. Healthily expressing your emotions will help you feel better and prevent them from bottling up inside of you.
Step 5. Be Assertive
Being assertive means standing up for yourself and expressing your needs in a respectful way. This can be difficult to do, especially if you are used to suppressing your emotions.
Start by communicating what you want in a clear and concise way. Use “I” statements, such as “I need some time to cool down” or “I would appreciate it if you would stop interrupting me.”
It is also important to listen to the other person and try to see things from their perspective. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them, but it can help you understand their point of view.
Step 6. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is an important part of being emotionally independent. This means knowing what you are and are not comfortable with and communicating this to others.
For example, you might not be comfortable with your partner going through your phone or reading your emails. You should communicate this to them clearly and respectfully.
If people don't respect boundaries that you have made clear, you may need to take a break from them so you don't get triggered.
Step 7. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is important for everyone, but it is especially important for those who are working on being emotionally independent. This is because it can be difficult to deal with your emotions if you are not taking care of yourself.
Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Did you know certain foods can help improve your mood? For example, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, have been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression.
Exercise affects our emotional stability by releasing chemicals, such as endorphins, that have mood-boosting effects.
You should also find time to do things that you enjoy and make you happy. This could include reading, spending time with friends, or going on vacations.
Step 8. Seek Professional Help if Needed
There is no shame in seeking professional help if you are struggling to deal with your emotions. A therapist can help you understand your emotions and provide tools to deal with them healthily.
If you are struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, professional help can be vital. Mental health professionals can provide medication and therapy to help you cope with your symptoms.
Step 9. Be Patient
Changing the way you deal with your emotions takes time and practice. You might not be perfect at it right away, but that’s okay. Just be patient with yourself and keep working on it.
If you find yourself backtracking and overreacting to your emotions, don’t get discouraged. Take a break and reflect on the situation with journaling or other mindfulness activities. Then, try again.
Step 10. Seek Out Emotionally Independent People
Spending time with emotionally independent people can be helpful. They can provide support and guidance as you work on being more emotionally independent yourself.
Emotional independence is a journey, not a destination. There is no “right” way to be emotionally independent. Just do what works for you and be true to yourself.
Step 11. Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
After you accept your emotions, you still may struggle to take responsibility for them. Taking responsibility for your emotions means recognizing that your emotions are your own and that you (and only YOU) have the power to control them.
You cannot control how someone else makes you feel. If you are feeling angry, sad, or frustrated, it is up to you to deal with those emotions in your own way. Don’t try to blame others for the way you feel or what actions you took in response.
Final Thoughts on Being Emotionally Independent
Learning to be emotionally independent can be difficult, but it is worth it. Emotional independence allows you to take control of your life and live according to your own values. It also allows you to be more resilient and less affected by the emotions of others.
If you are struggling to deal with your emotions, seek professional help. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you work on being emotionally independent.
Remember, emotional independence is a journey… not a destination. Just take things one step at a time and be patient with yourself. You’ll get there eventually. For more guidance, check out our article, 25 Best Songs about Dealing with Strong Emotions.