8 signs you’re an independent spirit who lives life on your terms

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For some people, independence is more than just a character trait.

Instead, it strikes to the very heart of who they are.

Their independent spirit shapes their destiny and ensures they dance to the beat of their own drum.

Are you one of these people?

Here are the signs that you are…

1) Your motto is: ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’

It’s not that you can’t accept help.

Ok, maybe it is a little bit.

But even when you can, you genuinely prefer to do it yourself.

For starters, you are perfectly capable of doing it yourself.

So why call upon someone else?

But when you’re independent you also tend to like things done your own way.

And the best way to ensure something is done to your standards, just the way you like it, is to do it yourself.

It also frees you from that nagging feeling of obligation.

When you do things yourself you don’t feel like you owe anybody anything.

Instead, you can do things on your own terms.

As a consequence, you probably have a lot of very random skills under your belt.

2) You’re always prepared to give something a go

True story:

I once fixed the brakes on my 1974 Renault, despite knowing very little about classics, or even cars for that matter.

The reality is that these days there’s a Youtube video or online tutorial for pretty much everything.

When you’re independent you learn to rely on yourself.

And that means rather than calling for help, rolling up your sleeves and giving things a go.

I confess, I later did go to the mechanic just to check up on my handiwork.

I mean, there’s independence and then there’s recklessness. And I started to realize that probably in this case it fell into the latter category.

But the point is that when you have an independent spirit, part of that means being ever-expanding.

You adopt a growth mindset.

You realize that you’ll never be able to know or do it all — but that doesn’t put you off trying.

You enjoy the process of learning, whatever the outcome.

You see yourself as a life-long learner.

3) You don’t always feel like you fit in

 There’s no way around it:

Going your own way means going it alone sometimes.

And when you don’t follow the crowd, you may feel isolated at times.

You may even feel a bit of a lone wolf.

But here’s the thing:

A certain amount of loneliness is part of the human condition.

We can think that we’re the only ones who ever feel on the “outside”.

But the truth is very different.

In fact, one survey of 20,000 Americans found that a hefty 54% of people said they feel like no one understands them or knows them well.

When you’re independent you’re more likely to be one of these people.

Personally, as a very independent person, I’m not sure I ever feel lonely. But I am very aware of being “alone” a lot.

And it can be easy to accidentally confuse the two and worry if it’s strange to be so happy in your own company.

But, it’s not.

4) You enjoy spending time alone

 There have been times in my life when I’ve realized that I haven’t so much as spoken to another soul in over a week.

 It’s never been intentional.

I’ve always preferred to live alone, and when you also work alone from home it can easily happen.

The time has just flown by.

I’m at peace when I’m on my own.

It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable to be in my own company.

In fact, I really like it.

Sometimes for quite selfish reasons. Because I don’t have to consider the needs or desires of anyone else.

I can suit myself without having to accommodate anybody.

I can fill my time however I choose.

If you’re an independent spirit you probably love your alone time too.

It gives you the space and freedom to do whatever the heck you like.

It’s not that you don’t value relationships, it’s just that you don’t rely on them to feel good about yourself.

So you are perfectly content when nobody is around.

5) You don’t stay in relationships that aren’t right

What some people call love is really just co-dependence.

I have never been the needy type in a relationship.

Some would even accuse me of having an unromantic approach to love.

But personally, as an independent person, I simply think I have a healthy take on romantic relationships.

I’m not looking for my “other half”.

I don’t expect someone to come along and “complete me”.

I think I’m already whole.

I believe it’s my job to accept responsibility for my own life and happiness.

So I only make space for relationships that enrich my life.

If they don’t, they’ve got to go.

I’m far from cold-hearted, if anything I’m overly sensitive.

It’s impossible not to get attached, we’re all only human.

But all relationships, no matter how long they last, we will be parted from at some point.

Sure, it’s painful. But I also accept that as a fundamental fact of life.

I recognize that the only significant relationship we have that lasts a lifetime is the one we have with ourselves.

Independent spirits need that primary relationship with self to be in tip-top shape.

6) You don’t desperately seek the approval of others

When you’re independent you don’t just do practical things for yourself.

You’re also emotionally self-reliant.

So you need to invest time, attention, and effort in working on your self-love and cultivating self-awareness.

That means independent people know how to regulate their own feelings.

The key is that they don’t look outside of themselves for validation, they turn within to find it.

This can free you from the common trapping of people pleasing.

Because when you feel you need to gain other people’s approval, you find yourself bowing to external pressure.

You can end up going along with things you don’t want to do.

You may find your personal boundaries are constantly being crossed.

You can feel afraid to disagree with people, for fear of losing their acceptance.

But when you are an independent spirit, you’re not at the mercy of what other people think of you for your self-worth.

And that makes it so much easier to break free from the norm and do things your way.

7) You live the life you want, not what others expect of you

 We may not realize it, but so much of our life is mapped out before we’re even born.

The culture and time period we’re born into dictate a lot of the expectations upon us.

Society has certain ideas of what the “right path” is. And they pass that on.

And so most of us end up following pre-prescribed routes through life.

We should never underestimate the deep defiance of simply living your life how you want to live it.

Particularly when it breaks from those norms.

Palliative nurse Bronnie Ware recorded the regrets of the dying patients in her care.

She found that the one which came out top was:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

So many dreams and desires go unfulfilled because it’s so very difficult to break free of the framework you’re born into.

An independent spirit has what it takes to live life on their own terms.

And that can mean they do the unexpected.

It can mean that they want nothing more than to spread their wings and fly.

8) You crave adventure

When you’re an independent spirit you are forced to face your fears.

Because you’re not running to someone else for your practical or emotional needs.

And the only way we grow is by pushing through fear.

The more you face your fears, the bigger your world becomes.

You’re no longer content to stay small.

You don’t want to live in a protected little bubble, because as safe as it feels, it also limits you.

You want to push your horizons.

That’s why an independent spirit often craves a life of adventure.

Of course, everybody’s version of that is going to look very different.

Personally, I quit my steady job and took off on a round-the-world trip that ended up lasting over ten years.

But your adventure could come in many shapes and forms.

It might be starting your own business or going back to school. You might get your kicks jumping out of a plane or going wild swimming.

It’s more about the spirit of adventure.

It’s being prepared to embark on something that both terrifies and delights you in equal measure.

It’s that calling from within that encourages you to go seeking those butterflies in your stomach.

Rather than be crippled by the thought of change, independent spirits like to shake things up.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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