In the United States we celebrate a day dedicated to our independence. It is about the freedom to live as we choose, make decisions that support our chosen way of life and, in general, pursue our own path to happiness. As a nation we demonstrate it with photos, music, fireworks and flag waving. However, that independence can be seen in the rights to disagree with and publicly demean our country. We have the right and responsibility to accept nothing at face value and question everything.
As a human being we have those same rights and responsibilities. Our personal independence comes when we look in the mirror and know that we are no better and no worse than anyone else on the planet. We each have our regrets, fears, hopes and dreams yet the blood that courses through your veins is the same color as mine, regardless of outward appearances.
There is a story that has circulated the internet that, while it may or may not be true, emphasizes the idea that when someone commits an act of violence or ill will, something is missing in their lives. Furthermore, they forget that they are loved and worthy of love. The story goes like this:
There is an African tribe having the practice that, when someone does something harmful, they take the person to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds them. For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done. The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as a good. Each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace and happiness. But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes.
The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.
They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”
Whether the story is true or not make NO difference. The idea that we can love each other and ourselves enough to restore balance from the inside out is the point.
It starts with US. You and me individually. The more I care about myself and appreciate the miracle of my existence, the less I need or want to be frustrated, angry or hurtful toward anyone else. We look around and see the world as a reflection of our own beliefs and understanding. As Abraham Lincoln is quoted to say, “If we look for the good in mankind, we surely will find it.” That is much easier to do when we first look for the good in ourselves.
To embrace our own independence we start by looking for the good in ourselves. We continue down that path by shining a light on the darkest corners and accepting our past as a piece of the puzzle that makes us UNIQUE.
Go out today and embrace the beauty of YOU and take hold of your own freedom, your own independence!