As humans, especially as women, we are often lulled into a false sense of security that someone will always be our providers, be it our parents, friends, siblings, or more often, our significant others. But unfortunately, there’s a grim truth – they will not always be there to give you everything you need. So what happens when they decide or no longer have the ability to provide for you? We all need to learn to provide for ourselves. Now, don’t misunderstand, dependence has an importance in our lives as well, since we cannot always do everything on our own, and depending on someone once in a while can help build a strong relationship. Still, we cannot always just wait for someone to do what we can just as easily do on our own.
Ever since my freshman year of high school, my father always told me that when I graduate from college, I had one rule to follow – when I have a stable income and can afford to move out to my own home, I must live alone for at least one full year. I was not allowed to move in with any boyfriends or friends. Why? This would be the ultimate way for me to learn how to stand on my own two feet, to learn how to live on my own and provide for myself. By doing this, I could learn how to follow my own rules, how to make my own path, and my own decisions. For example, if I wanted to get a dog, I could. If I wanted to come home after a long day at work and not be bothered by anyone, to just sit, relax, have a glass of wine, I could. Most of all, I could learn how to budget my life, to learn how to manage the money I make to ensure I never run into a road block. When I was younger, I hated the idea. I wanted the life that my older cousins had, to graduate and get married, go from my parents’ home to a married life. It wasn’t until I got a taste, 3 hours from home in college, of how amazing my own independence could be that I finally changed my mind. I realized then that, though it seemed like my father was scolding me on how to run my life, he was trying to prevent me from making the same mistake my cousins made. What if something happened and they separated or got a divorce, or in the far future, when their spouse passed away? They wouldn’t know what to do. Is that necessarily what will happen? No, but more often than not, it does.
A good example of this is my cousin. He got married only because the woman he was with was pressuring him about it. She wanted to get married right away and have a family, the whole nine yards. They did, and even now he regrets it. They have a baby who constantly needs medical attention with another on the way, money is short, they don’t have jobs, and it is putting a huge strain on their marriage. There has been talk of separation, but according to my cousin, the only thing that is keeping them from doing so is the fact that neither of them can stand on their own, especially with two children. “If I would have just held out and waited, didn’t rush things, and figured out what I wanted to do with my life before jumping into a marriage, things would have been a lot better between us,” my cousin told me.
Another prime example is my fiancé’s mother. She got married right out of high school, had two sons, and divorced just a few years later. Since then she has had 3 marriages and countless boyfriends, all of them the worst men of the bunch – cheaters, liars, thieves and drunks – all because she couldn’t bear the thought of living alone. Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not ranting on her life, or my cousin’s. I am not trying to show any disrespect, in fact, it is the exact opposite. I adore them both, and the fact that they both can stand tall, despite the fact that they have been through Hell, is a huge inspiration for me. Of course, these are extreme examples, and your life may not necessarily turn out this way, but the best way to prevent it is to learn how to stand on your own.
We all need to maintain our independence, believe in ourselves and treat ourselves well. We need to think on our own, call our own shots, speak our minds, and trust our instincts. Yet, all the while, we still need to be sure to listen and tolerate other opinions, thoughts and actions. Even still, though, we need to know when to take a step back and depend on someone else to maintain a balance.