Today is the 4th of July when we celebrate Independence. I live in Philadelphia and it is a day for celebration. I’m thinking about what brought Independence Day about and it was people deciding not to live by the rules placed upon them. I was also thinking about what brings people to finally seek independence and it usually involves suffering until you feel like you have no choice but to be free.
We, the people, have a great ability to suffer when we have convinced ourselves that it is either for a greater good or that we can’t find a better situation than the one we have now. It can take something deeply hurtful that finally makes us consider making a change. When we finally feel as if we have done everything within our power to change the situation is when we decide that we must either fight or walk away, but we decide that independence is the only way that we can live.
“Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.”- Simone Weil
Independence is a shift in perception. Perception is reality. If you believe that you are not getting what you need, you have the right to gain the courage to make changes. The Declaration of Independence gives us the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Happiness is not something that you have to pursue. It is a choice. You can make it every single day. You can decide to be happy. You can remove people and things that impose on your ability to be happy. You can also change your thinking about what you need in your life to be happy. You can stop accepting less and push yourself to find what really makes you happy. So many of us are sleepwalking through life distracting ourselves from unhappiness with things and superficial relationships. The pursuit of happiness is not about chasing freedom. It’s really about removing the distractions. It’s about getting honest with ourselves and in our relationships. It’s about not allowing fear to keep us from our purpose. It’s about putting focus and energy into the people and things that really bring you happiness.
The men that worked tirelessly for independence didn’t only do it for themselves. They did it for everyone. They felt the greater need to make the lives better for their families and the people who would live after them. True happiness involves love and service. On this day, you should enjoy the friends, family and bbq food. You can also take a moment to shift your perception to your own pursuit of happiness. You owe your happiness, not only to yourself, but to the people who love you. When you are happy, you invite others to be happy. Sometimes, your independence is simply about changing the value you place on your life and the people in it. A simple shift in perception can change everything.
“You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness.”- Robert Frost
Where are you sleepwalking through your life? How can you shift your focus to create independence for you and others? Can you invite happiness into your life?