Monday, 11 April 2016

The A-Z of Positive Personality Traits - I is for Independent

the A-Z challenge - Positive Personality Traits - I is for Independent

Next letter up for the A-Z challenge of Positive Personality Traits is I - and I is for Independent. Being independent is a great achievement - it shows that you have your act together and that you can function as an autonomous adult human being. The world has far too many needy people in it - choosing not to be one is definitely a positive trait.

There is a fine balance when it comes to independence when you are in a relationship or a family situation. The last thing you need is for everyone to be off doing their own thing and ignoring the needs of others in the family unit. Independence does not equate to selfishness or self-centredness. It's about being able to be part of a group without being completely taken over and swamped by the other members.


So many midlife women are waking up to the fact that they subsumed themselves with their family's needs to the point where they lost the knowledge of who they are in their own right. They wake up one day and find they are no longer the mother or the taxi driver or the chief cook and bottle washer and don't know who they are. Others get consumed by their careers and if they step away from that then who will they be?


the A-Z challenge - Positive Personality Traits - I is for Independent

It's so important to have an identity that doesn't rely on other people and their perceptions of us. We need to know who we are and be able to stand alone if we need to. There will be times when leaning on someone else is necessary, and there may even be elements of that throughout our lives, but we need to have within us a core of autonomy that can hold strong if we have to stand alone.

Being confident in yourself gives you a degree of independence that withstands the fluctuation of relationships around you. Knowing you can manage alone if you need to is an empowering mindset. Not being defined by your role (mother, career person, wife, husband, child) allows you to be available to others while still holding on to the central elements of who you are in your own right. We are all individuals and entitled to be seen in that light - not only as a reflection of others.

See you next time for the continuation of Positive Personality Traits - J is for Joy.



This post is part of the April #atozchallenge.

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48 comments:

  1. ".....we need to have within us a core of autonomy that can hold strong if we have to stand alone." I learned this through experience ..... and I've gotten to that place. Wonderful post! :)
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/category/a-to-z-challenge/

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    1. I've learned the hard way too Mary Lou - and in a way, I'm glad it happened because it's given me confidence that I can stand alone if I have to.

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  2. So true Leanne. I made sure I taught my daughter to be an independant woman. We shouldn't rely on anyone else and we should be able to bring our independance to our relationship. Thanks for sharing with us at Over the Moon and I'm enjoying your A-Z posts immensely.

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    1. thanks Sue - I still love #OTM and I think teaching our daughters to be strong, independent young women is a priceless gift that we pass on to them.

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  3. You are going to love my I am WOMAN series that will kick off on Friday of this week. It will feature exactly the message you are writing here. I have three daughters and I tried to instill in them the independence you speak of. Sometime they are a little to "independent" for their own good, but I do agree, we must know our true identity aside from our roles in life. Looking forward to "J" for joy!

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    1. thanks Michelle - I love reading your stuff and will definitely be over to read about independent womanhood - inspiring our daughters is what its all about!

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  4. Yes yes. Confidence. Independence. and INNER STRENGTH.

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    1. what would we do without them Carla?

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  5. What a powerfully motivating post this is Leanne! Many off us are indeed to subsumed as you say in our roles as the ideal home-maker, mum and so on that we are totally lost when the kids and family no longer needs us. Having independence gives you that strength to cope in such times. Great post Leanne!
    @KalaRavi16 from
    Relax-N-Rave

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    1. thanks Kala - it is so important to find the independent soul that got lost under all the other roles and nurture her a little now and then so we remember who we really are x

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  6. we always tried to maintain independence as an example for our kids-now independent in their own right. But it is important to remember that independence is different from indifference- it is still okay to be together or check in without stifling one another. Great post.

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    1. I agree Laura - there is always the balance isn't there - sometimes we swing a bit too far in one direction, but showing we are people in our own right and that we have value is such good role modelling for our kids.

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  7. I love this, so well written and articulate. As many of my friends and family retire or start talking about life after retiring the points you raise appear clearly. Some can deal nicely others struggle to find a new normal that works for them.

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    1. I know what you mean Haralee - I think midlife and/or retirement opens our eyes to the fact that we've devoted a large chunk of our lives to being part of a family unit, and now that unit doesn't need us anymore. We need to have enough self worth to be able to recreate our lives and find our value again.

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  8. A lot of this comes with maturity. We struggle to find our way when we are young but with any luck, as we age, we become comfortable with who we are regardless of what happens in our lives.
    Carol Cassara
    http://carolcassara.com/big-booty/

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    1. I think that's pretty much the heart of it Carol - we start to rediscover ourselves and settle into our skins with maturity - it's kind of nice :)

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  9. Thanks to the way my life worked out, I learned to be independent and I'm happy to have a husband who encourages me to be that way.

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    1. One of the bonuses of marrying a bit later in life Corinne is that you've had time to find yourself before you became part of a couple - not a bad thing at all!

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  10. Such a great post. I have always been a very independent person, even as a child. I felt like I did not need other people, which was helpful in some ways. I never put my self worth in how many friends I had or if I had a boyfriend, but I think as a young person it made me kind of snooty because I knew that I did not need anyone. As I have matured, I have learned that my independence is a strength and a weakness for me. I appreciate that I am a strong independent person, but also realize that sometimes my strong personality pushes those I love away from me and thus I have to be mindful of my actions.

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    1. I am so envious of people who have that natural self esteem and independence Charlotte - it's such a gift. It's taken my 50+ years to scratch the surface, but I'm getting there - maybe I'll be 'snooty' one day too :)

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  11. I think that sometimes woman our age have such a hard time with this. They've been "mom" for so long that they no longer know how to equate themselves without the daily grind of motherhood. The nest empties and some are so lost as to who they are and what they want. Thankfully I never really had that problem, but I see so many who do.

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    1. I think I got a bit lost for a while Rena - it's taken a few wake up calls in the last couple of years to open my eyes to how much I need to fine "me" and grow that person again.

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  12. So true, Leanne. As an only child I made sure to teach our son to be independent and as 23 he certainly is, more than I ever was! We can learn from our children. I try to be independent but also love being part of a supportive community. Love how your post makes me think about this.

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    1. My children are both independent and way more confident than I was at their age Cathy - I am so proud that we managed to instil that in them :)

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  13. Loved your post Leanne :) Having an identity of your own which is not defined by the roles you play or by others perception is something if all of us can understand, then it gives you the confidence to stand up for yourself!

    I am saying it again, but I really loved this post :)

    Cheers,
    Srivi - AtoZChallenge
    I for Inspiration | Twitter

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    1. thanks so much Srivi - I'm glad you could relate to what I was saying and I'm loving meeting people like you through the challenge :)

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  14. Beautifully written - such an important thing to remember. Too often I meet people who's existence depends on another and they don't really know who they are themselves.

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    1. thanks Pam - and that's exactly what I think we need to avoid or we lose ourselves in the process :)

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  15. Independence is SOOOOO important to me, and I think it's sad that for so many women, when the nest is empty, it's hard work to reclaim who they are. Or to figure it out.

    Regardless of relationship shape, we always need at least a little independence. Great post.

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    1. I agree Beverly - there is so much written about the downside of the empty nest, when in fact it should be a celebration of successfully launching your children and reclaiming yourself :)

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  16. I watched a mother take on all the responsibilities and decisions for her children. All of them. And she raised a generation who cannot think for themselves. It is so sad to see. I don't know what will happen to them when she dies. Teaching independence is one of the most important things we can teach!

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    1. There's nothing worse than seeing grown children who still need their mum for most things in life - that in my mind is not successful parenting - independence should be one of the first things we instil in our kids.

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  17. I vividly remember being laid off from my job during the housing market bust when the company I worked for closed its doors in San Diego. For weeks I kept scratching at the counter for a Blackberry (remember those?) that no longer existed. It was such an epiphany to realize that my role as a director of sales had become my identity. Wow. It took some soul searching for me to untie that knot, but boy was it worth it. Indeed, independence is vital and you have done a wonderful job describing what it is, as well as what it is not.

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    1. Thanks Elin - I know what you mean about a change in careers - when we identify who we are by what we do, we are putting a whole chunk of ourselves at risk if we lose that job! Glad you recovered :)

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  18. We can define ourselves any way we want to. Some women define themselves by their job. Then when the job is over and big title is gone, they feel lost. Some women define themselves by their children or their husband. Then when the kids are gone they have an identity crisis. To combat these pitfalls, I tried to be not buy into any of these slots. I am me - I am always changing it up - times in my life I chose to have a big career type job, other times I chose to be a SAHM. All the while, I try to create boundaries - maintain my independence. I define who I am by my character and love I have for myself, family and friends. My ability to give back to my community and to help others.

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    1. Wow Ellen - I think you are my ideal role model! I really envy the fact that you had such a strong grasp of who you are as a person from so early on (I wish I'd gotten there sooner!)

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  19. You had me right here: "It's so important to have an identity that doesn't rely on other people and their perceptions of us". Perfectly stated. This applies for women, men, boys, and girls - be your own person! Great post!

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    1. So true Ruth - it's not just a woman thing - so many people attach themselves to a job or friendships or family without being sure of who they are if they have to stand alone.

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    2. Knowing you CAN stand alone if you need to requires knowing who you are. I agree - Independence is a wonderful and empowering trait to have. I think as young girls and women, we are trained to "be nice and fit in". That doesn't go along with knowing who you are and being independent. Good post.

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    3. I agree Cathy - too many of us squashed ourselves into boxes and now we're opening the lid and popping back up again - it's never too late to be who you were meant to be :)

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  20. Great post again Leanne! All I want in life is peace and freedom, one can have neither without independence! :)

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    1. So true Zeljka - peace, freedom, independence, self confidence - they're all linked.

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  21. This is a really good post, Leanne. I spent 23 years in the military where they refer to every family member as a "dependent." I almost even forgot my own social security number, because I never needed it in all that time -- only his. For years after we were out of the service, whenever I would go anywhere and they needed my SSN, I would ask "His or mine?" Got some funny looks, haha. But he always knew that I could make every decision during his extended absences, pack up our home to move from one country to another by myself, and raise our daughter without his daily input because I've had to do all of that many times. I know this isn't the kind of "independence" you are talking about, but it made me think of 23 years of being a "dependent." :)

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    1. I think it all ties together Wendy because we need people we can depend on (and use their SSNs) but it's knowing that you can manage if you need to that is the key to independence - and you certainly managed well!

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  22. Growing up an only child caused me to be self-reliant. To do this day, I'd rather try and do something myself, than ask for help. On the other hand, there's no shame in asking for assistance when you truly need it.

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    1. I think having an independent spirit is such a bonus - knowing when to put out your hand for help is also a gift in itself - or you can burn yourself out in no time :)

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