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Finding the Meaning of Freedom and Independence

meaning of freedom and independenceAs I sit down to write this article I’m thinking about the fourth of July celebrations I’ve attended in the past years and the one I will attend this year.  I gather with friends for the BBQ, watermelon and apple pie, the singing of America the Beautiful, fun and festivity.  We choose how we are going to celebrate, where, when and with whom.  However, it hasn’t always been that way.  Yes, technically, I’ve always had this freedom and independence, because I live in a democracy and I have the right.  But, did I always exercise that right?  Or, did I allow others, my peers, dictate what I would do, when I would do it and who I would do it with?  This may sound “high school’ish” but through much of my adult years, I allowed this to happen.

When I turned 35 I realized how much of my actions were determined by the actions of others and dictated by my need for their approval.  When I turned 40 I made the choice to change and to give myself the approval I was looking for and when I turned 50 I found that approval.  I have to say my 50’s have been some of the most enjoyable and peaceful years.  I believe much of this is due to the fact that I no longer look to others for my freedom, my independence, and approval.  I give this to myself.

True freedom and independence comes from within and knowing who you are, what you are about, listening to your spirit, and letting go of control.  The ego doesn’t like this and will fight you all along the way, turning what could be an enjoyable journey into one fraught with inner turmoil, pain, and suffering.  To begin your journey, reflect on the questions below:

What values am I living by?

Values are those agreements we make with our self.  They are those rules of normalcy we learn throughout our life and become a habit.  Values are the boundaries we use to measure when we are living inside or outside of the norms and guidelines to which we’ve agreed.

Who owns these values?

Where did the value come from?  Was it taught to you by a parent, friend, sibling, teacher, minister, or someone else?

Do I want to keep these values or do away with them?

Does the value help to make your life better, happier, more peaceful?  Why?  Or, does the value cause conflict?  Why?

Which values am I keeping and why?

Name each value you choose to keep and make a statement as to why you want to keep it in your life.  Answer the question, what does this value bring to my life?

What are the new values I am adding to my list?

Make a list of the values, where they came from, and why I want them in my life.

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