Are you gaining your independence? Each time you have the opportunity to act independently, do you feel more like an adult? What if you were told that being independent and being “an adult” or being “mature” do not go together?
As is common in America, you’ve probably been taught that being an adult and having rights are synonymous with being independent and doing whatever you want; you’ve also been taught that the accumulation of things will make you happy. Now, you’re expected to live your entire life striving to ensure that your rights are being honored. But here’s a news flash: No matter how much stuff or money or power or fame you obtain, it will never, ever be “enough.” Truthfully, trying to make sure you’re happy through focusing only on yourself often conflicts with what actually occurs in the world, and it makes happiness unattainable. In addition, the further down the trail of independence and self-sufficiency you go, the more self-centered you’ll become. If you continue to pursue this lifestyle, your field of vision will narrow, other people will fade into the background, and – you’ll be alone.
The path to true joy does not come by way of independence, but by a healthy inter-dependence.
Paradoxically, you may think the path to happiness comes through another person. If only your parents were . . ., if only you had a boyfriend, if only your best friend would, if only . . . . if only . . . if only . . ., then you would be happy. Being dependent on somebody else for your happiness, or believing yourself responsible for his or her choices, is called co-dependence. The path of co-dependence is not fulfilling, but instead leaves you feeling empty. If you are concerned that you may be co-dependent, check out the patterns of behavior listed by Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) .
The Path to Joy
The path to true joy comes not by way of independence or depending solely on another person, but by a healthy inter-dependence. Being inter-dependent means having an awareness of your own self while being responsible to each other. Achieving joy through a healthy inter-dependence requires learning to establish healthy boundaries. In order to build and maintain these boundaries, you must know both who you are AND who you are not. Knowing who you are means knowing your strengths and your weaknesses, knowing what brings you energy, strength and joy, and knowing what zaps you. Discovering the person you were created to be will help guide you as you go through life. And as you discover your true self, you will also grow in your ability to hear somebody criticize something you have done (or not done) and tell whether their words are really about you or about themselves. To learn more about boundaries , how to establish them, and why they are key for integrity, check out books, articles and groups established by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
Today is the Day
Now is the best time to discover the person that God created you to become. How? Pay attention to yourself. Keep track of the things that energize you and the things that drain you. Try something new. Listen for the whispering voice of God as he guides you.