The Protective Sphere of Emotional Independence
Have you ever wished you could live inside a protective bubble that keeps you safe from the hurtful things people say and do? If you do, then what you’re really asking for is emotional independence. Emotional independence is the process through which we learn how to control our emotional states. Through this process, we build a metaphorical bubble around ourselves so any negativity that comes our way bounces right off our protective sphere. You’d like one of those, wouldn’t you? We all would. Here are seven ways to get it!
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Reframe Your Past
So many of us are caught up in who we used to be and what we used to do. It could be decades later, and we’re harping on some bad decision that’s embarrassing or even shameful. And harping on past mistakes fills us with regret and regret is hard to let go of. So what should we do instead? Reframe the past. You can’t go back and get a do-over, so focus on finding the lesson in your bad decision. Call all your mistakes lessons and take a step towards emotional independence!
Forgive and Forget
Many people think forgiveness is just about letting someone off the hook. Well forgiveness is also about choosing to let go of what someone has done to you, and it’s an integral part of your emotional independence. Forgive everyone, no matter what they have done. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you believe what they did to you was okay; forgiveness means that you are letting go of how what they did made you feel. Don’t hold on to your emotional pain, no matter where it comes from.
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End Toxic Relationships
Just because someone loves you, it doesn’t mean they won’t ever hurt you. But if the hurt is constant and intentional, you’re in a toxic relationship. It’s time to let that person go—no matter who they are. You aren’t going to work things out (you’ve probably already spend years trying), so walk out! You will never be emotionally independent if you continue to let toxic people mishandle your emotions.
Be and Accept Yourself
Emotionally independent people aren’t interested in being someone they’re not. They think and act for themselves; not for anyone else. To be emotionally independent you need to be yourself, because you are fine just the way you are. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just to make someone else happy. And accept who you are—flaws and all. Your flaws don’t make you bad or insignificant.
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Teach Yourself to Be Optimistic
You’ve heard that happiness is a choice. It’s true. You have two choices in life, no matter what you’re doing or experiencing: You can choose to be optimistic or you can choose to be pessimistic. If pessimism is the easier option, ask yourself why. If you’re look for the good in everything, you’re teaching yourself to be optimistic and you’re on the path to achieving emotional independence. And the good might not always be a good outcome. Sometimes it’s a valuable lesson.
Put Yourself First Sometimes
Putting yourself first doesn’t make you a selfish person. Selfish people constantly put themselves first and don’t care about other people. You care about other people, but you can’t care so much for others than you don’t focus on your own well-being. Learn to say “NO” when you don’t want to do something, and stop worrying about disappointing others. Selfish people say “NO” all the time because they don’t want to help others or do anything that doesn’t benefit them. You’re going to say “NO” because you really don’t have the time, you need a break or it’s just too costly. When you put yourself first, you are practicing emotional independence. You aren’t letting someone else’s disappointment take precedence over your emotional or physical needs.
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Prepare for the Backlash
The emotionally independent version of you could ruffle a few feathers, so you need to be prepared for some backlash. Suddenly you’re not the people-pleasing, punching bag people have come to know and “love.” When we make big changes, we upset what others feel is the natural order of things. It’s as if their happiness and success depends on you being a certain way. They certainly liked the old version of you better. But people who don’t support your move towards emotional independence don’t need to be in your life. Let them go, along with everything else that wreaks havoc on your emotions. Here’s to building your bubble!