I’ve Learned That Being Independent Doesn’t Actually Require Doing Everything Myself

I’ve always been very independent, and I clung to my independence more than ever when I was single for several years following an ugly breakup. I had intense trust issues and swore I’d be forever alone, so naturally I thought I should get used to doing everything myself. Then, in a twist of fate, I met The One and got married. I didn’t want to lose sight of my strong independent self because of my newfound happiness. Thankfully, that hasn’t been an issue because I’ve learned a lot about the nature of true independence through my experiences.

  1. Independence comes from within, so you don’t have to constantly prove it. Back in my single days, I often did undesirable chores that I’d much prefer to delegate simply to prove to myself that I was capable. It helped me reaffirm my independent woman status in my own head. I’ve learned now that the spirit of independence is always within me, even if I’d rather have someone else change my oil than do it myself.
  2. Independence is a mindset above all else. It’s the freedom of knowing that life tends to throw curveballs your way and knowing that you’re strong enough to roll with the punches. I’ve discovered that independence flourishes from attitude rather than just actions.
  3. I learned that asking for help doesn’t make me less independent. It’s about efficiency, and often it’s inefficient to insist on doing everything myself. Sure, I’m perfectly capable of climbing up a ladder to get that dish I can’t reach on the third shelf, but the task will get done in ten seconds rather than ten minutes if I just ask my tall husband to get it down for me.
  4. It’s important to have trustworthy allies. I used to make the mistake of insisting on doing everything myself because I thought it was the only way things would be done right. What I didn’t realize is that delegating tasks to others works if your allies can be trusted to do the job just as well as you could.
  5. It takes a new level of strength to trust others. When I was at the height of my issues, it was easier for me to do everything myself than to subject myself to the anxiety of trusting someone else. As I healed from those issues, I regained the ability to trust again, and I feel like I’m a much stronger person now as a result.
  6. I would never again be with someone I couldn’t rely on to handle the simplest task. Especially in marriage, I must have a strong and capable partner. After all, we’re a team, and a team is only as strong as its weakest link.
  7. I would also never again be with someone who wasn’t willing to help. The other reason I used to make the mistake of thinking I had to do everything myself was an ingrained reaction to years of gaslighting from my abusive ex. The fallout from asking him to help with the smallest thing was worse than just doing it all myself and that’s not the mark of a good team player.
  8. Doing everything myself was getting exhausting. At first, it was enthralling to discover all the things I could do without help. Eventually, the thrill wore off and I realized that I am an independent woman capable of doing everything and nobody can take that away from me, but I shouldn’t have to do everything myself.
  9. Now we’re Team Independence. Rather than becoming codependent, finding the right partner helped us both become even more independent…together as the dynamic duo that we are. It’s like two superheroes joining forces; neither of them has to become weaker as a result, they can both become stronger instead.
  10. I’ve never felt more independent in my life. I know exactly how talented and badass I am, but I don’t have to spend every day proving it to myself to have that joy. I can relax sometimes and trust that the other half of my team will pull through when I’m taking a much-needed break, and that feels amazing.
Anna Martin Yonk is a freelance writer and blogger in sunny North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her goofy husband and two rescue dogs and can be found at the beach with a drink in hand whenever possible. You can find her on Instagram @mrsyonkdogmom or on her Facebook page.