Finding the Meaning of Freedom and Independence



As I sit down to write this article I’m thinking about the fourth of July celebrations I’ve attended in the past years. I can only dream of the celebration I may have attended this year. The blessing of 2020 is and has been the time I had to spend with me, the me without the façade, the real me. . . . maybe.


In years past I gathered with friends for the BBQ, watermelon and apple pie, the singing of America the Beautiful, fun, and festivity.  We choose how we were 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 many of my actions were determined by the actions of others and dictated by my need for their approval.  There were many years of discovery and I am happy to say I am now living the best years of my life, because


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, 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. 


Today we are dealing with questions –

Do I wear a mask? Or not?

Is the government trying to control me?

Where did this virus come from?

Are the “bad guys” the democrats or the republicans?


Everyday there are more and more questions. True freedom comes when we can answer these questions without regard to another person’s opinion. We find our truth amid all the differing opinions. We answer these questions based on our own beliefs and values. When we are confident in our beliefs, our values, where they came from and why we have adopted these values we have freedom and peace within the chaos.


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, 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.


Take the time – You’re Worth It!

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Kate Theriot is a group facilitator, consultant, and spiritual director

© 2020 by Kate Theriot