What Does Independence Mean to You?


What does independence mean to you?

I asked our community on Facebook and Twitter this week, and here are a few things I heard.


You don’t answer to someone else.

You determine your own schedule, values, and priorities.

You stand alone.

Being able to depend upon yourself.

Not being a victim anymore.

Doing things without manipulation.


Living a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.

The ability to say no.

Not having to ask for permission to live my life.



Yesterday was Independence Day in the U.S., and a few days ago it was Canada Day up north.

Thankfully, independent living is available to almost everyone who reads this blog, by choice and by determination.

What does independence mean to you? Tell us here.


Image: Joseph

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  • Derek says:

    Independence means not letting someone else determine when I can spend time with my family.

  • Will says:

    I’ve learned recently that independence is very important, especially now that I’ve gone the way of copying others to fit in a little better than I once did.

    Recently, on a couple of trips for my obstacle challenges, my friends were surprised how I didn’t like some of the music they were playing. They were also trying to get me to conform to their dress and style when going out after the race.

    I feel independence is having the freedom to conform as much or as little as you want. If you want to wear team apparel to a baseball game, go for it…if you don’t, then don’t. It is about freedom to like what you do and not what everyone else expects you to.

  • Clay Myers-Bowman says:

    For me, independence is making my own decisions and striving to base those decisions on my own best thinking and not on the perceptions of others. My worst enemy is the tendency to worry too much about what other people think.

  • Mad Fientist says:

    Having enough passive income (from investments/savings/businesses/etc.) to cover my essential expenses so that I can make decisions about how I use my time without worrying about the monetary impact of those decisions.

    Financial Independence (FI) = Independence

  • Sally says:

    To quote a great line in a Gillian Welch tune, “I never minded working hard, it’s who I’m working for.” Being able to work for something and someone I believe in, to me this is the definition of independence. It’s my goal and I’m working towards getting there sooner rather than later.

  • Susan Toy says:

    Independence for me means no longer listening to naysayers and detractors who would never have you succeed by following your own intuition and ideas. Eventually seeing these ideas through to a successful end is just the icing on the cake!

  • Krishan says:

    Independence is having the equanimity and the awareness inside to be present regardless of everything — good or bad — going on outside.

  • gloria lucas-burford says:

    Freedon of choice without harming others-freedon of religion -school choices-careers-medically-sexuality-as long as your freedom does not interfere with others. that is independence really is. For the most part we have total freedom and that freedom must remain within everything.

  • Matt Neuman says:

    Independence means the capability to choose who/what you worship, say thank you for and where you spend your time. In a larger sense, it means knowing how blessed we are and possessing the ability to help those not as fortunate.

  • Vic says:

    Independence = $$$

    Having a steady income that allows you to live alone sans flatmates, being able to afford to keep a dog, having the ability to travel anywhere @ anytime

  • Nine says:

    One aspect of independence, for me, is being able to choose and change my location. Despite my low income, I’ve opted to take my chances, travel indefinitely and do freelance work on the road, rather than go on the dole or find a job, both of which would require me to stop moving and comply with someone else’s agenda. (Still, I’ve been able to take this path due to having a basic amount of money and an EU passport – I’m aware that it doesn’t work this way for everyone.)

    And the other main meaning of independence for me is not being controlled, coerced or manipulated by a partner. Even on bad days I’m thankful for this continuous freedom.

  • Robert Redus says:

    Being able to do what you want and love to do when you want to do it.

  • Sebastián Lora says:

    Independence starts when you stop relying on your parents to live but then it’s (frequently) lost when you start working for someone else. I guess it’s a mix of financial and professional freedom (at least in the so called “developped” World).

  • Brad Long says:

    Currently, independence means being free to be in Asheville, NC for the whole week with my beautiful wife, hiking, sightseeing, writing, eating and working remotely when I want/need to.

    Working toward and living a mobile lifestyle is one of the best paths to true independence I’ve ever seen and certainly that I’ve ever experienced. No boss, no stress, no guilt, no way!!

  • ashley kujan says:

    i don’t believe that any human being is 100% INdependant. we all depend on nature(for one) in order to survive…..clean air, water, and food(plants, animals, fungi, etc.). as part of the human condition, we also depend upon the support of other humans for our well-being. in addition, no matter if one works for oneself, we still ultimately ‘depend’ on someone to purchase our wares or services in order to maintain our businesses/survival needs. not even the most austere monk is completely INdependant, technically. spiritually, the whole ‘independant’ concept is just another illusion!

  • Jaime says:

    Independence for me means being able to determine your own future. In other words, being in control of your life as much as possible. Becausey it’s impossible to gain full control.

  • Suzanne says:

    Independence is a developmental stepping stone to a healthier variety of interdependence and community.

  • Jos says:

    Live your life instead of being lived by somebody else.
    Financial independent.
    Do what you love and the money will f(ol)low.

  • betsy burns says:

    Anarchy within the lines of Christian standards.

  • John Spinhirne says:

    Everything mentioned, but for me it will be when I am debt free so I am no longer dependent on a certain salary to live my life.

  • Brad Teare says:

    The power to design a life that pleases me and serves others.

  • Tina Rea says:

    When I think of independence, I think of creativity. Being able to create my life in all aspects. How do I create my business, what projects do I develop, identify what is working for me and what needs to change, how I schedule and balance my time between work and family. My vision of what I am creativity is not a stagnant image. It ebbs and flows.

  • Summer says:

    Feeling like I can take care of myself and my family in the ways that are best for us.

  • Joseph Bernard says:

    My independence means I get up each morning and am free to create my own experience. I can begin my day in meditation, flow into my writing, spread some light, love and joy out into the world, take time to keep fit, tend to my garden, tune into nature, and be fully present to all I do.

    As Ashley says we all live in an interdependent world, so what we do is connected to everyone else. Living with that realization keeps us mindful of each other and still free to be who we are.

    Chris, Love the inspiration you spread out into the world.

  • Finola Prescott says:

    Esoterically, being able to live in peace with others without feeling I have to change their ways or that they want to change mine – I guess being comfortable with cultural, social, individuality

    In practical terms – knowing I can handle my own responsibilities and be able to do the things that are important to me – not having to sacrifice one for the other…

  • iktomi says:

    My ancestors Native American and from England, Scotland, and France. I think independence is making your decisions without a government or monarchy deciding for you. People have come to the USA to experience democracy. Along the way from 1492 we have become entrapped by government deciding too often what is best for the individual and taxing to fund the decisions. The USA (Illahee) is still the best place to live despite the controversies. Masi sykes- thank you Friend

  • Chi says:

    Not having to explain my decisions to anyone

  • Rd says:

    To me, Independence means being:-

    . financially independent with dignity and respect maintained
    . free to make my own decisions without unnecessary interferences
    . forces one to be responsible when you are aware you are answerable for your own actions

  • Monique says:

    Before anything else, I’d say that independence requires being able to think for yourself, as free as possible from the subconscious programming of society, advertising, culture, religion, marketing, childhood training, received values, etc.

    You may think you are independent, but if your choices and decisions are pre-conditioned by programming that you are not even aware of, then how independent are you really? First you have to think things through from the ground up.

  • Veronika says:

    Absolute Accountability.

    Being able to prioritize my agenda to fulfill goals as set out by me for me.

  • Candace says:

    For me, independence means being able to set my own schedule/handle my responsibilities without having to report to someone about it, and living anywhere I want without being dependent on someone else for my livelihood.

  • kathryn says:

    being responsible for my life!

  • LaurenL says:

    For me, independence is choosing what I want to do on a daily basis. It means doing work that is fun, personally meaningful, is which I express my natural born talents and abilities and increase the skills to make them even better. It means wearing what I want because I feel good wearing it. For me personally, it also means determining how I view life and the Universe. Independence to me also means eliminating the limiting beliefs that prevent me from living the life I choose and eliminating the habit of judging others lives and lifestyles. And, finally, independence is the freedom to live life based on the principles I determine and not the values an organization(philosophically or religiously) unless I feel they are a good fit. Last note: independence means love.

  • Karin Pinter says:

    Independence for me = freedom to be, do and have what I choose, when, where and with whom I choose. Ultimately; freedom of choice and the ability to act upon it.

  • Mike says:

    Independence… it’s a powerful word that wraps what is often a dangerous concept.

    Being independent is to be free; to be able to make choices without the intervention of any person, organization or government. Independence allows us to see a world that we have not yet explored, where life has so much yet to be discovered. But… upon the knee of any dependence, we lose our liberty, our freedom to see, to feel, to think and to act in accordance with our own desired course.

    Any surrender of one’s freedom is to become, at least somewhat dependent.

  • Thor says:

    Let me ask you, all these independence status you´ve posted – We humans have free will, but i noticed this manipulation especially: What if you could be given understanding of how things work – then you´d most likely change the way you think, would you think of that as manipulation?

    If you don´t want to be manipulated – stop watching movies, listen to modern commercial music. Cause it all manipulates you – And if you want to continue, at least choose what you´re manipulated into thinking by not carelessly listening to music, but making concious choices of what you listen to.

    Secondarily, indepence? I would want to be able to make my own choices, in accord to the knowledge i possess. I would like to be given information of how things work – so I could make independent choices, without need for guidance.

    The more you know about what consequences your actions have, towards yourself and others long term – the more you´ll be able to make independent choices, as your choices won´t harm others.

    Independence? Imagine a child making independent choices, it would become fat, no education, most likely die quickly. That´s what we humans are, we need guidance till we understand ourselves

  • sweetpea says:

    A wonderful jazz musician, now gone to the big jazz gig in the sky, once told me the meaning of freedom in a nice metaphor. Freedom is “driving your own bus.” Sometimes we allow other to “take the wheel” far too much, or we drive with the brakes on…
    I started my first business, with youth on my side, energy to burn and $200. Exhilarating…creating, seeing your ideas manifest into the tangible. A twist of fate, due to illness meant I had to close after 12 years. …but I am back….On the 4th of July, my new company registered…how symbolic is that! Here I go singing my ideas into being again, making my own choices, and back at the wheel (you may substitute this for saddle) again. Freedom. Driving where you want to go, making decisions, with on your hands on the wheel. Turn the radio up…sing at the top of your lungs…you might not be able to see around corners… but that’s half the fun.
    Eyes on the road, with your own map, even though scant at the beginning… to guide you. You can stop the bus at any time and pick flowers and smell roses, and mix as many metaphors as you like. Some people will even tell you your “weird”..then you know you are on the right road.

  • Rafael Roldan says:

    Independence, IMHO, is self determination, reckoning your inner land from fear’s troops and setting the victory banner over the putrid hill of low self esteem. We all have by birth the right to provide our own living. You just have to think outside the box.

  • Kellie says:

    Making my own decisions and being able to trust (and have others trust) that they are good solid decisions with everyone’s best interest in mind.

    And, being able to spread the work out enough, among enough clients, so that no one client can bring me down thru bad decisions or bad business moves. Had enough of that working for full-time employers who refused to hear out ideas of their very capable employees.

    So much time and energy are wasted because of egos or fear or ignorance. It’s nice to deal with people who listen, take some advice, dump others, and appreciate that you are there to help them build their business.

    If my clients are not successful, then I don’t consider my efforts for them to be a success (unless their misfortune was based on their own separate behavior or decisions).

  • Andrea says:

    Independence is setting my own agenda and doing what I most desire every single day of my life.

  • Chris says:

    For me, independence means I wake up every day in control of my life, without dread, fear, regret or oppression. Freedom to make my own choices and to pursue life without hesitation. Independent from any other being, feeling that I KNOW I can make it on my own.

  • Peter Paluska says:

    Independence means the ability to choose whether you say yes or no! And you need to hold yourself accountable and take responsibility for your choices, otherwise there would be no art in all of this. Happy Indepence Week, Chris! Keep shining your example on the world!

  • Renee says:

    Yes, independence means being self sufficient, able to set own schedule and choices, etc. It also means being in a position to help others out (not just with money but skills and knowledge), and being able to participate in building a healthy community.

  • Lauren says:

    Being independant means having the freedom to create your own income, work you own hours and go where you want when you want. It means being free to make choices about how, where and with who you spend your time. I am still very dependant on my job for a fulltime income and that means that it is decided for me when and where I work and what work I do. I have slowly come to realise that this is not a permanent state of being and that I can work towards independance. For most of my life I have tried to conform and never quite fit in. As I get older I am realising that who I am is enough and that I do not need to conform to anyone except my Creator’s idea of who I should be.

  • Pepper says:

    Independence means to do the things you want to do without fetter: not dependent. All people are interdependent.

    Mad Fientist is saying that his independence is reliant on money; that’s not true independence. Independence has to be in one’s mind, before you can be truly free.

  • Sheyi | says:

    For me, I choose what I have to do the time I wish to do it. I can work pretty any freaking time I wish and no one queries me for that. If I like, I take 1 year off work, no one querie me and money flows in daily.


  • Jessica says:

    I paid off the last of my debt this morning, and I’m feeling more independent right now than I have in months.

    I am so grateful for the ability to work, to earn money to pay off this debt, and to save money so as to travel and hopefully better the daily experiences of those around me. This, to me, is freedom.

  • Caren says:

    Independence arises from being grateful for those who have paved the path before me so that I may be free to blaze my own trail.

  • Brian Sommers says:

    freedom is the ability to choose what I OUGHT to do, NOT what I WANT to do.

  • 2yoshimi says:

    Being cured of AIDS.

  • Kimanzi Constable says:

    Freedom means that I can start something from nothing and make it into something!

  • Cassie says:

    Having a flexible schedule with time to help out friends, family, and the causes and organizations that you care about.

  • Ali says:

    Independence to me is being able to live my own life the way I want to and living my life the way other people expect me too.

  • Melanue says:

    Independance and/or avoidance? When is independance becoming avoidance? Is independance to be promoted at all costs? Maybe there is a need for balance somewhere: humans need to relate to each other, to a community, a special someone, a project…

  • Nicole says:

    Living on my own, on my own terms and reclaiming my identity!

  • Kisha says:

    The ability to do everything or nothing at all, but to do it my way!

  • Daryl says:

    Not having to clean up messes made by others. Plus being able wear goofy hats any time I want. (Check my blog to understand the latter comment.)

  • Lisa says:

    Independence is being able to follow your heart and pursue your dreams. (So long as this does not restrict others from doing the same.)

  • Isabelle says:

    Independence means being able to live my life in every aspect of it in a way that respects my values and leaves me feeling complete, content and happy to have lived that day.

  • Sophia says:

    Independence is having the freedom to go to a movie, a museum, a show, another country by yourself and the confidence to do it without being worried about what others might think.

  • Melissa says:

    Independence is the ability to live my life on my terms and no one else’s. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years, and dream of succeeding at some day.

  • Stephen T Knox says:

    The right to do right.

  • billa911 says:

    Independence is that Moment of Awareness in which you realize that you will die one day everything like Bad bosses,bad teachers, Good & Bad days, other people’s opinions, what others think…blah blah blah..will all be left behind.

    Independence is realizing that only the present moment is real. Past cannot be undone & next moment you don’t know what’s gonna happen. (P.S – Fear cannot dwell in the present moment ever. Fear is always something that mind has constructed in future)

    Independence is to know how your mind controls you and takes all the good things for granted making you focus on stuff you are missing in your life rather than the great stuff you already have like eyes, limbs, air, food, family & friends..

    Independence is in doing what I call my LTD Principle…If you LIKE to do something, THINK about the feeling you will have when you actually do that thing & then just DO it without give a F about anything else..just take the plunge..

  • Victor Reynolds says:

    independence, to me, is being your own person who charts their own course.

  • Jon says:

    Complete independence means freedom from the ‘parasite’ that lives in our minds. I found the best way to be free to make decisions on our own will is to practice ‘The Four Agreements’:

    1) Be impeccable with your word
    2) Don’t take anything personally
    3) Don’t make assumptions
    4) Always do your best.

    When you approach adversity with a systems’ approach/checklist like the 4 agreements, you take back control of your life story, or at least you stop being a victim that would not fight back.

  • ken says:

    Leaving the mark you want to leave without someone else telling you how deep to leave it.

  • Oliver says:

    Independence is freedom. As Sting says: “Be yourself, no matter what they say.”

  • Kash says:

    Independence, to me, means being solely responsible for the mistakes and beneficiary of the rewards. To work when I feel it, and to spend my time and resources as I fancy.

  • Bradford Glass says:

    The absence of self-doubt.

  • Lazri says:

    Independence is a collective attitude and mindset. It grows within communities committed to increasing their autonomy and control in certain ways. I believe we can only build freedom with others. For example, in this thread, many of us seem to be committed to individualistic, self-reliant notions of independence. It’s oddly comforting to discuss non-conformity as a crowd.

    United we; Stand alone

  • Marta Costa says:

    I can BE myself!

  • Rose says:

    The freedom to choose, in every moment of every day. It doesn’t matter how “small” or “large” the choice seems, from what to eat for breakfast to what career path to take – it’s the fact that we always have freedom of choice that matters.

  • Mike says:

    For me, independence is a feeling inside that keeps me moving forward. It has been there since I was a little boy and the grown ups in my life told me over and over that I was a dreamer (not in a good way). It is being able to hang on to, and pursue a dream that others may see as silly without letting that be a distraction. It is persevering when things change. It is knowing that I don’t have to give in to the sometimes enormous pressure to follow the well worn path of working for someone else until I’m too old to enjoy retirement. It is something that many people give away far too easily. I think that my independence bothers some of the people in my life. My non-conformity makes them squirm. I sort of like that and would never want to fit into their lifestyles.

  • Rahul says:

    Freedom to me is The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, although it is all-pervading.Similarly, the soul situated in Universe Vision, does not mix with the body, though situated in that body.

  • Maia Duerr / The Liberated Life Project says:

    “Independence” is good… and also a cultural construct. Those of us in the U.S. have been conditioned to value independence more than almost anything else. Yes, it’s about standing on our own two feet, taking responsibility for ourselves, creating the conditions for our happiness.

    Yet there is another truth of “interdependence,” that we all lean on each other as well. And that doesn’t have to be some unhealthy, co-dependent thing. During this 4th of July week, I like to remember all the ways in which I am connected to others, in which I receive support and can offer support back, and how it is within our shared possibility to create a better world together.

  • Brian says:

    Having the means to pick up and leave whenever I want without worrying about a job, money, deadlines, bills, or time. Basically having a large enough passive income to never worry about money ever again 🙂 oh and I liked that goofy hats thing too…

  • Andrew Brady says:

    Independence means taking responsibility for your life and the choices you make. Not being reliant on others for your livelihood, working as hard as you care to in order to achieve the lifestyle you want. Realize that you don’t have to do it all on your own, but take comfort in knowing that you can. Live the life of your dreams!

  • Brent says:

    Financial Independence for me is acquiring enough money to a point where I don’t feel controlled or influenced by it. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it can buy freedom.

  • Kevin says:

    Independence to mean means not relying on anyone for my well being. So I take my health into my own hands. The government can’t save us so I ignore whatever they are saying. In the real world, there are no parents. This attitude seems to get me far in life!

  • US Wanderer says:

    Independence means not being manipulated and forced into doing things you don’t like or you don’t feel comfortable doing and not having anyone or anything restraining you – at least for me it is…

  • Pavan says:

    Independence is something which I define as below….
    U do something and u don have to answer someone about that…
    U do as u wish and not as ur boss wishes..

  • Anna says:

    la independència és fer el que vulguis assumint el resultat de les teves eleccions

  • k santhosh goud says:


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