"All my women who independent, throw your hands up at me."
From learning to say no, to understanding your emotions, and eliminating self-doubt, I have rounded up some surefire strategies to help you gain some independence.
Especially as women in a society which continually tells us we need a partner, more specifically a man to take care of us.
But ladies, we are officially cancelling that now.
Keep scrolling because we can always be more independent, can't we?
Learn to say no.
Not I'll see.
Not let me check.
Just plain and simple no.
Such a small word that terrifies most of us.
But the power of saying no can change your entire life.
It does not make you rude or selfish or inflexible.
Saying "no" makes you powerful.
And more importantly, in control of your own time and life.
WHICH YOU ARE.
Or at least should be.
"No" is not a dirty word.
But, particularly for women, it is often seen as such.
Women who are confident enough to say no, or confident enough to do anything really, are often portrayed as, say it with me now ladies, "bitches."
Seriously we live in a society where we're bitches if we do and bitches if we don't.
So we might as well do.
So say no to that party you really don't want to go to.
Don't want to go on a date with the guy who keeps asking?
Stop making excuses and saying you're busy, just say no.
Don't have time for that extra task?
Say no... yes, even to your boss.
Saying no does not make you a bitch.
And frankly, who cares about anyone who thinks it does?
Put in the effort with those that count and to hell with everyone else.
But you know, in a good way.
Similarly to saying no, being assertive is often portrayed as a big no-no for women.
For real ladies, the patriarchy has really done a number on us.
So it's high time we took back our power.
Let's talk to some managers.
Assertiveness is one of the most powerful tools to improve your self-esteem and overall wellbeing.
Send your food back at restaurants if there's something wrong with it.
Let your barista know if they didn't use soy milk.
(Speaking from personal experience as a lactose-intolerant human, the three seconds of awkwardness is far better than the consequences).
Stop people-pleasing at work.
Start setting healthy boundaries with colleagues as well as friends and family.
Annnd.. a big one; stopping kneecapping your sentences.
Like, I don't know, do you know what I mean?
I mean, I'm probably not making sense...
EXCEPT, I'M MAKING PERFECT SENSE.
See what I did there?
Using phrases such as like, I don't know, does that make sense?, maybe etc. etc. undercut your authority.
Have confidence when you speak.
You do know what you're talking about.
You are making sense.
And more often than not, your ideas are good.
(Except that time you had too many cocktails at 5pm happy hour and texted your ex "you up" at 8 pm - that was a bad idea).
But at work, in conversations, or most other alcohol-free settings, your ideas and opinions are gold.
So stick to your guns and speak assertively.
Oh, and while we're at it, stand up straight.
It's up to you, girl!
It's time to make decisions on your own.
Like for example, deciding where you want to eat.
Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me you can do it.
Making small, inconsequential decisions independently improves your confidence and paves the way for bigger decision making.
And let's be real, you've been thinking about dinner since lunchtime so deep down, you really do know what you want to eat.
And you know what you want where everything else is concerned too.
I'm not saying you should never ask for advice, talking things out is very helpful.
But just learn to trust your gut.
I mean we're grown women (apparently) not babies but what I mean is learn to self soothe.
If babies can do it, we can too!
No more crying to that toxic ex when you've had a bad day, ladies!
You're the only one you need.
Again, often, as women, we feel guilty for feeling the way we feel.
And expressing or verbalising our feelings is often interpreted as weak or hysterical.
Seriously, if I were born in the 1880s, I would have been institutionalised for "female hysteria" for sure.
Or burned at the stake for being a witch...
Low key proud of both.
But anyhoo- women have a long history of being pretty harshly judged for expressing their emotions.
And while they have stopped putting us in straight-jackets for crying, the systematic oppression of our emotions has carried over.
So, I'm not suggesting you have a full break down at work or that you shouldn't try to stop crying at the bar after a few too many wines.
But you should permit yourself to feel your feelings and learn to process them independently and appropriately.
Disproportionate reactions often come from us, not understanding what we are feeling.
And - we also often feel as though our feelings are not ok until they are validated by someone else.
This is where self-soothing comes in.
Recognise, acknowledge and allow yourself to feel your emotions.
Sit with your feelings.
Learn from them.
And eventually, grow and move on from them.
You're who you're gonna call cause it's 2020 ladies and we don't need anyone to meet our needs.
As the great philosopher, Beyonce once said;
"The shoes on my feet, I've bought it—the clothes I'm wearing. I've bought it. The rock I'm rockin'. I've bought it. 'Cause I depend on me."
So be more Beyonce.
I'm not saying partners aren't great.
They can provide lots of things.
The occasional meal.
But what you should never expect a partner to provide is financial security.
We get that on our own now.
Sure, things can be a little bit easier with two, and I'm not saying you should cancel your joint bank account!
I'm just saying make sure, especially if you're single, you are financially ok on your own.
And if you're a grown-ass woman with a grown-up job, there's no reason you shouldn't be.
I understand there often extenuating circumstances, but taking back your financial freedom is one of the most empowering things you can do.
So if you're in a position to do so - DO SO.
Image credit: @pinkablonde
You cannot be independent without knowing who you are.
A strong sense of self is crucial to just about, everything, especially independence.
So finding out who you are, should probably be step one.
Because when you know who you are, and what you believe everything else I've spoken about will come naturally.
Now, I'm not getting all 'Self-help-the-subtle-art-of-not-giving-a-F*#K-' on you, (as great a philosophy as that is.)
But you don't need a book to help you figure out who you are.
Deep down, you already know.
It's just matter of being confident enough to express, you. Unapologetically!
Learning who you are and becoming more independent is mostly to do with self-confidence.
So, focus on your strengths and what you like about yourself.
I know, it's a lot easier said than done.
But validation comes from within.
You are never going to be truly independent if you are constantly berating yourself and focusing on your perceived flaws.
You should also try to understand that praise from yourself is equally as valuable as praise from others.
Once we are comfortable acknowledging our strengths and our achievements, we begin kicking goals more for ourselves, rather than for external praise.
I'm going to give you some homework...
I know, just when you thought I was cool.
But, every day for at least a week I want you to write down three things you did well.
These can be at work, or even as simple as catching up on two weeks worth of washing.
Maybe you said something really kind to a stranger or let someone in on the highway?
Just anything big or small that you think you did well.
This will not only make more confident, but it will help you identify and acknowledge strengths without someone else pointing them out to you.
We have covered financial independence, physical independence and emotional independence, so now it's time to talk about independent thinking.
And, no, I don't mean deciding where you want to go for dinner, we're past that now.
I mean forming your own opinions and beliefs independent to those of your family, friends and societal influences.
Independence is all about growth.
Emotional, and spiritual growth, as well as growth which prompts you to challenge your beliefs.
Often our beliefs are habitual.
We can go years without questioning why we think something.
We may have formed these opinions so long ago without stopping to ask ourselves, does this current belief system still serve me?
Are my beliefs still reflective of who I am today?
For example, growing up victims to the patriarchy, we have all gone through the 'not like other girls' phase.
You know, the one where we believe there is something wrong with being like "other girls?"
Like, if you like footy or drink beer or don't like pink, you're somehow cooler than "other girls?"
As an adult, I am a feminist who now, if ever told that I'm "not like most girls", would be highly insulted. Because most girls are the bomb and I am proud to be like them.
This is an example of a belief of mine which I had to examine, challenge and change.
This can be particularly difficult for women.
Because often our opinions of ourselves and other women come from "internalised misogyny."
Obviously, we are not misogynistic, well I hope not anyway, but our limiting beliefs about ourselves are influenced by a society which is.
So this is why challenging our individual beliefs is so vital to becoming independent.
Our opinions should be our own. Not learned.
They should be reflective of who we are and not just knee-jerk responses to our past selves or, what we have been told to think.
This also applies to body image and beauty standards.
Do you really think you need to be a tall size six blonde with DDs to be beautiful?
Or is that just what society has had you believe for so long?
Because hell yeah tall size six blondes with DDs are beautiful, but so are 5 ft brunettes.
So are A cups and size 22s.
So are Asian women, Indian women, black women, white women and everyone else.
Seriously, who says you're not beautiful other than yourself?
... And probably magazines.
But change starts with individuals, and the more we impose western beauty standard onto ourselves, the more we impose them onto the world.
Image credit: @jessraeking
Trust me; you're cooler than everyone else anyway.
But seriously, there is nothing more empowering than learning to love your own company.
Too many of us fear being alone, but there is so much more scary stuff in this life...
And checking your bank balance after a night out.
But spending some quality time with numero uno?
That's not scary.
Instead of being dependant on your partner, family or friends for constant company start taking time for you.
Deliberately schedule some alone time every week.
What you do with this alone time is entirely up to you.
But, it has to be longer than an hour or two. You cannot be on your phone for the majority of it and, you have to do something you enjoy.
This is how you practise not just being on your own, but enjoying your own company.