Independence is the capability of an individual to be self-governing—not dependent on others for care, well-being, or livelihood. It requires the freedom to exercise one’s human and civil rights. Independence is one’s self-directed well-being and flourishing, and permits self-actualization.
An analogy of personal independence with national sovereignty may be seen. Sovereignty is the defining basis of independent and self-governing states. In practice, however, state sovereignty is not absolute. Nation-states restrict or share authority voluntarily through treaties, or their consent to peacekeeping under UN Security Council authority. This relationship corresponds to the social contract, in which individuals yield some aspect of their independence in return for rule of law, security, and public services from their government.
The terms independence and autonomy are often used interchangeably; their distinction is academic. Autonomy is sometimes defined as independence and the ability to make one’s own moral choices. It is a contentious term because it is often unclear whether people are making their own independent decisions or are actually controlled by others.
Self-determination motivates your healthy development and optimal independent functioning. If you enjoy independence within an unrestricted environment, why not actively protect and promote self-determination in others?