The goal of personal development is personal freedom. Freedom from your emotions, moods, reactions to success or failure and most importantly, freedom from being dependant on other people or your environment.
Emotional independence is not about suppressing or stifling your emotions, rather it means that you can choose your moods, and obviously you will choose to be happy rather than sad. Your mood and state can always be positive and balanced, and not affected by the events that happen in your life and in the world.
Emotional independence includes tremendous compassion for everybody and everything without your personal emotions getting caught up and actually being assimilated into the event. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and negative along with other people, you stay independent emotionally from the event so you can have true compassion for other peoples feelings with objective reason and your actions or words will be the most appropriate and effective for the circumstances at hand.
Normally, people are very emotionally dependant on external circumstances for their source of joy, and therefore are subject to sadness or negative emotions being caused by that same source they are dependant on.
There are only two possible sources, you and everything else. You cannot be dependant on yourself and still dependant on anything else. If that is the case, then you cannot say you are self-dependant. So either it is you or everything else. Given it is everything else, the danger is that in this state, the normal human state, anything and everything has the power to swing your emotions and mood.
External circumstances tell you what mood you should feel and you will feel it, even if you don’t really have an emotion for that cause, or would have any such feeling for it on your own naturally. That is real dependence.
Buddha said that life is suffering. Suffering is caused by desires. I explain it like this; desires are created by stimulating any one or more of the five senses. The five senses are stimulated by what reaches them in their natural function. But further than the five senses, we have imagination. That is the true cause of suffering.
Imagination is the faculty which creates out of nothing. This is the great asset of humans that differentiates us from animals. However, like all good things, give it to a human and they will find a way to use it to destroy themselves or their environment.
Imagination, if left unattended and running free, will create false images based on what the five senses provide without discrimination.
Discrimination is what keeps a person balanced. Discrimination is the filter and objective view of what is really happening, and determining the appropriate response.
Humans love excitement, fantasy, Hollywood, joining in the crowd, regardless of what the crowd is doing, good or bad. So when your emotions are fired up, positive or negative, excited or grieving, question if you really feel that or, have your emotions been set on fire because of someone else and you are just going along. Or are you under circumstances that people say you should feel a certain way and so you do, even if you don’t. Or is it habitual to your culture, or your family.
Beware not to follow the crowd and just be a chicken following the others into the slaughterhouse. Some people follow blindly without thinking where they are going, walk right into the slaughterhouse, and get their head cut off, even while watching the other chickens running around without their heads.
Negative emotions are brought out by emotional dependency, following or reacting to the situation and other people. That is the head of a chicken, not a true human. I mean true as distinct from the masses of people living in a waking sleep.
Emotional independence means to be free to choose your emotions and moods, and therefore your capacities to act in the world. To choose your life and how you live and feel and what you do. Emotionally dependant people are in prison, following others and subject to becoming what others have made them to be or expect them to be. They are in a self-perpetuating prison.
Emotional independence is one of the harder qualities of character to acquire, but very possible, so don’t give up or you will have the head of a chicken, soon to be cut off and then keep wandering around the world, blind, deaf and dumb. Sound like anyone you know?
Seeing and accepting the reality of the world is required to attain freedom and independence. Emotionally independent means that you are free to say what you feel because you are not dependant on what others think of you for you to feel good about yourself.
The emotionally independent person is a leader. The dependant ones follow. You have now been exposed to these conditions, therefore your place in life is now in your own hands. To be a normal human or a True Human Being.
Method of Cultivation of Emotional Independence
1 Observe all people who are in a negative emotional state. Observe if their state is justified, meaning will being negative do anything positive in the correction of the circumstance which they are lamenting about.
2 Observe your negative statements. Are they justified? When you say and feel that you are suffering, are you really suffering, does the situation call for you to suffer? Do you know what true suffering is? When someone close to you dies, you suffer, when you go without food you suffer, when you can’t buy a new pair of shoes, you suffer. But in all these sufferings, does suffering help in any way? Can you call them all by the same term of ‘suffering’?
3 Learn the difference between true and false feeling, compassion and suffering. Learn the causes of these states. Determine the cause of your suffering. See the unfulfilled desires that cause your suffering. The desire to possess that which you cannot have. The difference between suffering the loss of a loved one, which is selfish. You want what you cannot have, therefore you suffer. That suffering is from your imagination, ego, I want and I can’t have, therefore I suffer. Who is the cause of your suffering? External circumstances or your own mind? This is a drastic example but it makes the point better than the pair of shoes.
Suffering is caused by not accepting reality. There are only two states, reality and imagination. Accepting reality is living in the realm of truth. Therefore suffering is purely illusion in your imagination because it is caused by a refusal to accept reality, desiring what you cannot have.
If you want the shoes, you suffer but that can push you to work a bit harder, save a bit more, and get the shoes. That suffering can be propelling. But still it is self created through desires.
Have no unattainable desires and you will have no suffering. Accepting reality is to; ‘not desire what is not acquirable.’
Emotional dependence is to; ‘desire what is not acquirable.’ Emotional independence is to; ‘not desire what is not acquirable.’
Emotional dependence is to imagine that everything and everyone belongs to you and therefore should respond to your needs so that they give you praise and never contradict you or complain about anything you do.
Emotional independence is to acknowledge that every thing and person has its own destiny, life and rights and therefore nothing belongs to you. Everything and everyone is free to be or say what they want, as you would like to be. And Emotionally independent person has a basic philosophy in life which is;
You can think what you want, that will not change my life.
What I think WILL change my life.
I choose to be the master of my life, so I leave you to think what you want,
and I will choose my thoughts for myself.
This person will choose to acknowledge their shortcomings so that they can improve. This person will accept responsibility for their actions so they do not live in guilt which requires them to live blinded to reality. This person will be respected and honored by others and be free to choose their feelings at all times, and be balanced and content.
Given that, you too are free and do not belong to anyone. Given that, you are independent, in other words, your feelings and moods do not depend on anyone or anything. You are free.
We naturally live in freedom, not in a place, but in the state that makes any place and any condition acceptable. This freedom and Emotional Independence is filled with emotion, hence its name, but not an instant of negative emotion. Negative emotions for an emotionally independent person only appear negative, but their source is compassion and the desire to create solutions, therefore they become positive in the experiencing of them.
The normal human lives in a place, the True Human lives in a state of mind. That is a place that is untouchable by circumstance.