Independence and what it means to me

I was watching this advertisement on telly. There was some banter between a wife and a husband. The wife says, “I used to be more independent before marriage.” So I turn to my husband and say, “I used to be too.” He gave me ‘the look.’ You know the fun and sometimes the exasperating part in a marriage is when we either roll the eyes and give each other the looks. J These perfectly convey what we wish to say without saying a word and sometimes are very convenient in stopping the conversation from treading dangerous territories.

Anyhow, so well, I went on to talk as I always do (even when the other person has quickly put on headphones). I said that I meant it in a good way. I used to be more independent because then I didn’t have a life partner to share the load with. That made me think how comfortable I am with the knowledge that there are things I don’t know well and can’t do well enough. I mean, I know of women who stress that they don’t know everything or can’t do everything. I have a slightly different approach. If the spouse knows it better I just let him do it.

What is wrong with depending upon someone? Don’t I handle so many things at home almost single handedly? He tells me, “You are better at this. Take care of it. “ And I do. Not for a moment does he feel inadequate because of that or any less capable. But for some reason, I’ve seen that women try to ace everything. At the end of the day, our goal is happiness. If your routine does not burn you out already, go ahead try to do it all, whatever all is. Me, I am just trying to somehow get though my already full days.

This is not to say that I don’t advocate that people be self sufficient. Both the husband and wife are individuals who should be able to manage the home in the absence of the other. That way, it does not stifle one person or ties them to the home and hearth all the time. That independence is needed. Hence both should know how to manage their food, drive/travel, do groceries, handle finances, manage the kids, do the basic household chores and basically function well. I have known women who take pride in their husbands being unable to do a single chore at home. Why would you want that? Isn’t that bizarre — an adult unable to find his bearings around the home. Not me. I take pride in him being able to manage things on his own.

I think most importantly we need to have freedom in our thought processes. Independence comes from having the open mind to give each other space, to live happily with a contrary opinion, to have a mindset and attitude that can take on the biggest challenges in life and come up tops and to avoid controling the other.

On second thoughts, I am perhaps more independent in my thoughts and deeds now than before. I have the courage to buck the trend and the strength to follow my ideals and convictions.

What is independence to you? Do you equate it with financial freedom or your other traits?




47 Thoughts on “Independence and what it means to me

  1. Financial independence is very important.. so is independence in thoughts and ability to distinguish between right and wrong… too much dependence on anybody is not good
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  2. Lata Sunil on December 11, 2015 at 3:34 pm said:

    Independence to me means to get through the day on my own. And, I thank my husband who has really made me independent. And same I try my sons learn too. They can survive without me and the maid in the house. Good one Rachna.

  3. For me the most important part of being independent is the freedom of thought and expression. It really feels great when you have a partner who respects our independence..
    Very true..Both partners should be able to handle the basic things at home independent of each other
    Bilna recently posted…To the Mom With no Helping HandsMy Profile

  4. Susila Raman on December 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm said:

    For me independence means having the freedom to say what you want to say and do what you want to do. it’s a very simple thing- To be able to say or do what I believe in (which does not cause harm to others)- rather than ask permission for it or seek acceptance.

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  5. I think the word independence is over hyped. Because no one is really independent. We all are dependent on each other and the beauty is how we create a beautiful family, society and world being dependent on each other

  6. Freedom is the backbone of growth and not just financial but should cover everything, be it thinking process, spiritual and ability to live life on our own terms. That’s how I’d define independence but it’s much more and so vast.
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Hindi baatein: Kahani sunane waleMy Profile

  7. For me independence is being able to think and do things without being bothered or influenced by other’s thoughts. And I agree with your line of thought. No one is the master of all. There are naturally going to be things that we can do and which we cant. There is no point in trying to be perfect in everything. And if at all we are lucky to be around people who are good at what we arent, I’d just ask them to help me out and focussing on getting things done rather than insisting that I do things myself!
    Ashwini CN recently posted…The Spirit of Chennai!My Profile

  8. Independence means different things to different people. For me, I think the most important part of being independent is having the mental space to make my own decisions, be it in parenting or work or anything else. Having said that I love to discuss all my decisions with my spouse just to get his perspective on it. I still make my own decision but kind of run it by him to see what he thinks. I think that’s important too in terms of actual independence which translates to freedom with responsibility. As always, a thought-provoking post, Rachna 🙂
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    • Yes, freedom with responsibility, interdependence and yet independent on your own — such fascinating thoughts and actually how life plays out. One extreme is just not workable. Thanks for your comment which summarized my post so well.
      Rachna recently posted…In two minutesMy Profile

  9. I somehow feel independence is something that allows us to do whatever we want to do. But, in our society, keeping in mind of the stability of the society, independence never exist. Atleast not for me. Furnished independence is what exists in our society. Thinking deep, I guess everyone feels so. But, we can express all that we want to do. The society stands a barrier. But, without that barrier the stability of the world will collapse. So furnished independence is what I see you describing. And for me, it is living in peace without erring the existing social system but in my own norms. If others don’t interfere into my lives, it is in a way happy life for me.

    • I think we can be very free as an individual with our thoughts and actions and it is desirable too. After all, we are all free spirits. But then comes the framework of family and the larger framework of society where it is important to temper this independence and focus on mutual dependence. Imagine if each one only worried about what they wanted, how would the society survive?
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  10. Very thought provoking as your posts always are, Rachna. I think I am independent in my thoughts and actions even though I’m not earning my own paycheque so am dependent on my husband for the finances. I had a hard time with that in the early days after my layoff since I’ve been used to having my own money. Now I’m more used to the arrangement and like it. I feel like I’m semi-retired and lead an independent life doing things that are meaningful and enjoyable like performing my music. Money is only a small part of it. I feel grateful that the hubs isn’t forcing me to get a lowpaying job that would suck the life out of me. I have given up my independence financially but gained it in other areas.
    Cathy recently posted…The Christmas ChoirMy Profile

    • I am so happy for you. I know where you are coming from. I also gave up my job and didn’t earn when my kids were younger. But not once did I feel small or deprived. Rather, I was quite happy. Even now, we don’t look at money as being his or mine, it is ours. And that is how it should be in a family. So interdependence is fulfilling, right?
      Rachna recently posted…In two minutesMy Profile

  11. As you say, I feel that I am good at some things and husband is good at some things. Both of us don’t question the other person’s capability. I make mistakes sometimes and he too sometimes. He knows cooking so, I am able to go anywhere, leaving the house to him to manage. Some people proudly say that their husbands don’t know even to keep rice or make dosa. I am against it. They should know cooking. One day if somethings happens to us, it should not be a shock to them. They have to carryon.

    Interesting topic, Rachna.
    Sandhya Kumar recently posted…The Rain Started With Us Drenching/Giggling And Then….My Profile

  12. Lovely post as always, Rachna.

    Financial freedom is just a subset of independence. The latter encompasses everything in one’s life.

    I have known women like you mentioned too – who not only take pride about their husbands not knowing chores, but also restrict others’ growth professionally because they feel they can do something faster. But unless we develop the ability and motivation in someone to carry out a task, we will always be swamped. It’s differentiating between important and the unimportant that is important 😉

    Sheryl Sandberg had written that true gender equality will be achieved when 50% people in boardrooms are women and men handle 50% domestic work. I think training from parents has to begin if we have to achieve this in the near future.
    Vishal Kataria recently posted…I am Conducting an Experiment on MyselfMy Profile

    • Thanks, Vishal. Indeed, unless we empower others by trusting their ability, we will end up handling everything on our own which can be frustrating and fruitless. Besides what’s the point of a family if it does not exist as a cohesive unit? When we can’t help each other out? I could never understand how women did that. Why did they want to do that? A husband and a wife are meant to complement each other and achieve more than the sum of the parts is what I believe. Of course, individually we cherish our independence but together we are mutually dependent.
      Rachna recently posted…In two minutesMy Profile

  13. Good points there, Rachna. I think in this day and age pretty much everyone needs to know how to basically manage the most mundane tasks like cooking, take care of house, groceries, bills etc. This should be a given in present times.

    From dependence to independence to interdependence….it can be a continuum, I think. Every relationship needs fundamental equality and freedom in which each indivdual can grow and be his/her own person, independent enough to take personal decisions and manage individual life and at the same time accomodating and flexible enough to allow the other partner to share his/her view on the matter if the decision has a wider impact than just the individual.
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  14. One can never be completely independent… true we must do what we feel to do come what may but we need help and support… for me independence would be not getting restrained to follow other persons views or lifestyle but maintain my induviduality… in marriage freedom goes to some extent in the sense, we need to worry about the other and take more things into account… from finances, to your outting and what you generally do… even then I think the other has to let you free to go wild at times so your charged up and don’t feel restrained… women love financial independence because well that’s power for her… she loves multitasking, being a mother even to husband, even likes to boss, keep an eye so I think… but if you ask me, understanding and mutual co work is good and bonding… not letting the other completely free to get isolated but joining hands and coexisting… being open minded yes cool, helpful, a good friend too, even fights are cool because you let out your pent up anger or frustration… I guess women have to find her independence(: … that’s her life always weather married or not… it means several things… but I think she should be not completely homebound, she should be going out, doing things, travelling, spending time with her family and friends, also do some other crazy thing once a while… that’s independence… giving up no, but adjusting, tuning, schduling and joining hands and living in the movement… I guess couple and families should do some exciting outdoor stuff instead of thinking of independence and freedom… its complicated.
    Amanda recently posted…Things To Do To Get Rid Of Dark Spots On Skin My Profile

    • You have brought out the dichotomy beautifully, Amanda. One is never truly independent. We can have a beautiful mutual synergy but never complete independence. Yes, we do oscillate between doing everything to doing little; pushing our will through and giving in; being financially independent and taking a backseat with earning to manage family concerns and so on.

  15. Oh yes, have seen so many women who are smug about their husbands not able to do a thing at home. I travel a lot and I can do it with absolute peace of mind because I know KG can handle everything on his own in my absence. Of course, we differ on house keeping rules (I have OCD and he is normal) and that’s perfectly ok. Independence to me is freedom to do what I want, take my own decisions. Sometimes I do check with him and ask him for his feedback/opinion. Interesting post 🙂
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    • Yes, we also bicker about household chores and small things but in the larger scheme of things we have sort of accepted each other’s quirks. Independence to me is about having a voice, of having the right to opinion and also choice to execute my decisions.

  16. Very well said, Rachna. I too feel that I was more independent in certain ways before marriage, but that is not what my goal now is. I know that either of us can do it all if we have to, but we don’t need to. A healthy relationship is based on love, trust and dependability.
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  17. huh.. I’ve never really thought about what it means to me!!
    I guess – its the ability to make decisions – whether I discuss it with the spouse or parents or do it all by myself.
    It’s also that state of mind which lets me be.

    Financial Independence is extremely important to me. I don’t think I would’ve taken the risks I have without it.

    • Yep, it is about making decisions while being mindful of their consequences. Financial independence is important but there was a time when I had taken a sabbatical and wasn’t earning. Never felt any difference. I guess it is the rapport you share with your partner and how you do things. In general, sure, it is good to earn your money.

  18. Much like everything else, I guess this too is about the balance – we need to be independent enough to look after our own stuff and that extends to financial independence too. But things like ‘love’, yes cheesy I know, are better when shared and dependent on each other; It’s also about the trust – about knowing that someone will be there.
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    • Ideally, everyone should earn their money. But I see couples managing beautifully even when one is not earning. I think it is all about trust and love. Besides, once you are a family, you can’t possibly have the my way or the highway approach. You give in; you adjust; you may even do things you don’t like for the sake of others and happily too. But, of course the bottomline is that choice word. I am pigheaded that way. You force me to do something and I will most certainly not do it. You reason it out with me and I will go an extra mile to do it for you. So in that sense I am a free spirit.

  19. I and my husband are very much depended on each other, for everything. That’s not because we are not independent. We just like that dependency. But we are very independent on thinking and we debate about almost everything. Since I am not working after wedding financially I am dependent on my husband but he asks my opinion on everything, even if it is to buy a shirt for me. So even though I am not earning I haven’t felt that my financial independence has gone after the wedding. In fact, I have more freedom now. We ask each others’ permission because we love each other not because we have lost freedom.
    Vinitha recently posted…Wasting a seat? #MondayMusingsMy Profile

    • And I see this beautiful interdependence in many relationships. It is the crux of a sustainable relationship. Of course, we do bend over backwards for our loved ones but as long as we have a freedom of thoughts and a choice to live according to our will, we are sorted. Thanks for reading, Vinitha.

  20. For me its freedom to be myself and being respected for it. But definitely not at the cost of hurting the ones I love.

    One just needs to be aware that every action has consequences that don’t just affect you but your family as well.
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  21. Independance for me is simple and basic.. I do what I want to do When i want to do …

    to be ME always and not having to do things for the sake of it just because someone will be happy .. and offcourse as Purba says above every action has a consequence … so independance would mean to be able to do alll without a consequence …

    Bikram recently posted…Intolerance – New thing in townMy Profile

    • Agree totally, Bikram. I guess there is nothing like total independence. We always depend on someone for some need. But as many have pointed out, not being in control of one’s life or not having the choice to take your own decisions is very important. Doing it all is not.

  22. “we need to have freedom in our thought processes. Independence comes from having the open mind to give each other space, to live happily with a contrary opinion, to have a mindset and attitude that can take on the biggest challenges in life and come up tops and to avoid controlling the other.” – These lines of yours sum it up !! Very well put !
    For me independence is all about that, independence is also about making my family independent, so that all of us can be self-sufficient as much as possible.
    As far as financial freedom goes, I still feel deeply abt the need to be financially self-sufficient and if the need arises, to be able to shoulder the entire financial responsibility if my husband wants to take a break.
    Asha recently posted…AfterglowMy Profile

    • Thanks, Asha. I do cherish being financially free as well. But sometimes, the career takes a backseat while raising kids. But, I am happy to be earning money again and most important in doing some great work in a way which works for my life.

  23. I had a chat on the topic today with my soon-to-be 19 y.o. niece. I was proud of her being an already independent, free thinker, yet respectful in her ways of expressing it. At her age I was equally independent, albeit not so well spoken (blame growing up in different time and place). It made me wonder, is such attitude in life a matter of personality, or it could be cultivated? Or both?

    I certainly think that an independent mindset and self-sificiency don’t necessarily get in the way of a healthy relationship. Interdependecy – yes, codependency, no!
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  24. Udayashankar on January 29, 2016 at 3:13 am said:

    ” He gave me ‘the look.’ You know the fun and sometimes the exasperating part in a marriage is when we either roll the eyes and give each other the looks. –

    Haha, the One Art which we both have mastered in > 12 years

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