COLUMN: Only way to independence is to solve your own problems

Hannah McDermet

Hannah McdermetDeviant Ink Slinger

I just sat there, listening for what seemed like ages. I had no idea what to say. One of my best friends had just broken up with her boyfriend; the boyfriend she thought she was going to marry someday. She paused and gave me a look that said, “What do I do now?” I tried to think, but nothing I said or could have said was going to help her. I knew that if she were to continue on with her life, she would have to find the answer inside herself.

In American society, we rely on others to give us the answers to our problems. We watch Dr. Phil if we want the answers to family problems, Tyra Banks for body image issues and Oprah for everything else. Americans spend millions of dollars on self-help books and videos and schools, companies, and organizations hire hundreds of motivational speakers to encourage people to make good decisions or “find who they really are.”

Do we really need all these things to make our own decisions? No matter how much we hear or read, we are always going to have to find the answer ourselves. I could not tell my friend what to do after her break-up. I did not know what she was going through. We all experience things differently and all have different ways to cope with reality. Who am I to tell you how to deal with your problems?

The Buddha, himself, once said “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” We must trust in ourselves to find what is going to make us truly happy. After all, nobody knows me better than I do.

So what makes it so hard to trust in ourselves? In times of need, we often feel helpless and alone. By bringing others into the picture, we can find a temporary release from these emotions. Friends can help us by comforting us and making us feel like we are not alone. We have all been in that situation where a friend wants us to tell them what to do. We try our best to tell them what we would do in that situation, but we never really know what the best solution for them is going to be.

When we’re in need, we also look to experts on shows and in books to block the feeling of helplessness. My friend actually bought the books The Single Girl’s Survival Guide and I Kissed Dating Good Bye to help her learn as much as possible about the single life so it didn’t seem so overwhelming.

While reaching out to others may help us temporarily, it will not resolve the problem as a whole. By figuring out how to solve our problems on our own, we gain more self-confidence and move one step closer to independence. While my friend struggled with single life for over a year and sought help from outside sources, she eventually achieved freedom on her own. “I knew the only way it would get better was if I found peace within myself,” she said, “I had to rely on myself completely and that’s what made me stronger.”

Hannah McDermet is a senior journalism major at SDSU. Contact Hannah at [email protected].

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