In order to have holistic independence you need to start with worthiness. Is your worth dependent on someone or something or is your intrinsic value as a human independent of the control, perceptions, or dictates of people and things?
One way to understand this is in the context of being trafficked. One survivor explained it this way:
When I got to my trafficker, I already had no self worth, and that’s exactly where he wanted me so that he could mold me into believing that my worth depended on him. He made me believe that my sobriety was because I was with him. I believed my beauty was because of the investments he made in me. I thought the only reason I wasn’t homeless anymore was because he was providing a way for me. The only reason why I made money in the game was because he was the one managing it and without him it would all disappear. Anything that I viewed as good or worthy in my life would have been stripped from me if I didn’t have him. My worth was entirely dependent on him. I had no worth independent of him.
While it is perhaps easy to understand this in the context of trafficking, the truth is that we all have the tendency to allow our worth to depend on people or things, and sometimes those people and things have a way of manipulating us into actually believing it. Real independence, however, starts in your own heart and mind. It starts with the belief that you are worthy–not because of what you have or who you know–but simply because you are. It is possible to be financially independent and still bound by the perceptions of others. It is possible to be physically independent but still shackled by things.
One survivor said it best: “True independence is knowing that you are worthy of love, dignity, and respect even when the people and the things around me push against that. I can honestly say that I am now independent. I am free from my self worth being tied to someone else. My mental, emotional, and spiritual independence is what really makes me free!”