6 things highly independent women do differently to the rest, according to psychology

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Being fiercely independent can feel like a double-edged sword at times: it’s empowering, but it can also be isolating.

You’re the kind of woman who walks her own path, makes her own rules, and creates her own destiny. You’re the one who doesn’t need anyone but yourself.

And yet, people often misunderstand you.

You’ve probably heard them say it, right? That you’re too bossy, too cold, too distant. They’ve probably even labelled you as difficult or intimidating.

Well, guess what?

This is far from the truth. You’re a woman who’s so comfortable with yourself that you don’t seek validation from others. 

Let’s delve into the unique qualities that set highly independent women apart from the crowd.

Stay tuned as we unravel what makes independent women tick and how they do things differently, according to psychology.

1) They don’t seek validation from others

Independence is a trait that’s often misunderstood. People might see it as arrogance, but that’s not the case.

In reality, being independent means having a sense of self-worth that doesn’t depend on the approval of others.

It means knowing who you are, what you want, and not being afraid to go after it, regardless of what others might think.

Highly independent women understand this.

They don’t seek validation from external sources; they find it within themselves. They don’t need others to tell them they’re smart, beautiful, or successful; they already know it.

This doesn’t mean they’re narcissistic or self-centered. It simply means they have a strong sense of self-worth and aren’t reliant on others to feel good about themselves.

They value their own opinion over the opinions of others and trust their judgement.

They don’t measure their success by how much they’re liked or praised by others, but by their personal goals and achievements.

For them, the only approval that truly matters is their own. 

2) They’ve learned to embrace solitude

One thing that has really set me apart is my comfort with solitude.

In fact, I’ve come to relish it.

It’s in these moments of quiet solitude that I find the space to think, recharge, and plan for the future.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about shunning society or avoiding human interaction. I love spending time with people. But I don’t feel the need to constantly be surrounded by others.

I’ve found that being alone gives me time to reflect on my thoughts and feelings without distraction. It’s a time when I can focus on my personal growth, explore my interests, and just be with myself.

And trust me, there’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Loneliness is a state of mind, and it can happen even when you’re surrounded by people.

Being comfortable with solitude, on the other hand, is a sign of emotional independence.

In short, I don’t fear being alone. I embrace it. It’s one of the things that makes me—and other independent women—stand out from the crowd.

3) They’ve learned to set boundaries and stick to them

Let me tell you a story.

A few years back, I was working in a fast-paced corporate job. The work was demanding, and the hours were long, but I loved it.

Or so I thought.

One day, I found myself staying late at the office—again. It was past midnight, and I was the last one left.

As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, I had a moment of clarity: this wasn’t what I wanted. This wasn’t what I signed up for.

I realized then that I had allowed my work to overstep my personal boundaries. I was constantly available, always ready to jump in and solve problems, even at the cost of my own well-being.

That night, I made a decision.

I decided to start setting boundaries for myself and sticking to them. It wasn’t easy, and it required some difficult conversations.

But guess what? It worked.

Now, I leave work at a reasonable hour. I take time for myself every day. I make sure to prioritize my health and well-being over everything else.

The point is, as an independent woman, I’ve learned the importance of setting boundaries and sticking to them, no matter what.

It’s not being selfish; it’s self-preservation.

It’s okay to say no when you need to. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. And it’s okay to protect your mental and physical health by setting limits on what you’re willing to do for others.

Highly independent women understand this.

They’re not afraid of setting boundaries and enforcing them because they know that their well-being is the most important thing.

They respect themselves enough to ensure others respect their boundaries, too.

4) They do the “right” kind of independence 

You would think that being highly independent might feel lonely or isolating at times. After all, you’re often walking a path that’s different from the rest.

But according to this study, people who value independence tend to have greater life satisfaction. Even more so if they are independent in ways that are valued by their culture. 

The researchers say, “Being independent in the ways prescribed by one’s culture, that is, being independent the right way, signals that one belongs and fits in with one’s cultural group, and this cultural fit may be one of the keys to self-esteem and life satisfaction.”

The bottom line is, individuals who place a high value on independence are more likely to be satisfied with their lives and have a higher sense of well-being.

Why?

Because they’ve learned to rely on themselves for their happiness and well-being. They’re not waiting for someone else to make them happy or fulfill their needs.

They take charge of their own lives, make their own decisions, and forge their own paths.

This isn’t to say that they don’t value relationships or social connections. They do. But they don’t depend on them for their happiness or self-worth.

This is another thing that sets highly independent women apart. They find joy and satisfaction in their own achievements and inner growth, rather than depending on others for validation or happiness. 

5) They see failure as an opportunity to grow

One of the most defining characteristics of highly independent women is their perception of failure.

While many people see failure as a setback or a sign of inadequacy, independent women view it differently.

For them, failure is not a dead-end, but a detour on the road to success.

I’ve been there myself.

I’ve faced failures and disappointments. But instead of seeing these moments as the end of the road, I’ve chosen to view them as learning opportunities.

When I didn’t land that promotion I was vying for, I didn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead, I took it as a chance to reassess my skills and my career trajectory.

I asked myself: What could I learn from this experience and how could I improve, moving forward?

It’s this mindset that has helped me bounce back from setbacks and keep pushing forward.

It has made me resilient and adaptable, qualities that are crucial for anyone who chooses to walk the often unpredictable path of independence.

Highly independent women know that failure is part of the growth process, not an indication of their worth or capabilities.

They don’t just survive in the face of adversity; they thrive. This ability to turn negatives into positives is one of the things that truly sets highly independent women apart.

6) They embrace their individuality

At the end of the day, what truly sets highly independent women apart is their ability to embrace their individuality.

They’re not afraid to be themselves, even if it means going against the grain or standing out from the crowd.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to fit in, to conform to what others expected of me.

But as I embraced my independence, I realized that there’s power in being different. There’s strength in owning who you are and celebrating your uniqueness.

For instance, I’ve always had a passion for art. While many in my circle saw it as a hobby, I saw it as something more.

Despite the raised eyebrows and unsolicited advice, I pursued it, turning my passion into a successful career.

This is what highly independent women do. They listen to their inner voice and follow their passions, even when they go against societal norms or expectations.

They don’t let fear of judgment or criticism hold them back from being true to themselves.

They understand that their uniqueness is not a liability—it’s their greatest asset. By embracing their individuality, they’re able to live authentic and fulfilling lives.

This, above all else, is what truly sets highly independent women apart from the rest.

Final thoughts

In embracing our independence, we learn to value our own company, set healthy boundaries, and step out of our comfort zones.

We learn to see failure as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. We prioritize self-care and embrace our individuality.

But most importantly, we learn to be comfortable being ourselves. That when we follow our own path, we inspire others to do the same.

So here’s to all the independent women out there who are living life on their own terms.

And if you’re still on your way, remember that it’s okay to take it slow. This is a personal journey, and there’s no need to rush.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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