The 4th of July is this weekend and with the traditional celebrations surrounding the holiday including barbecues, fireworks, family, friends, and water sports-it’s also a time for us to stop and reflect on freedom. After all, the 4th of July is a celebration of America’s freedom from Britain and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that solidified the United States becoming its own nation.
So between planning the menu for the big day or the family plans-why not take a few moments to reflect on what freedom is. What does freedom mean to you? What does freedom mean to our nation?
Most people in the United States think of freedom as an American right. The ability to choose what we want and go where we please without question or opposition. In this country, it’s a daily expectation that people should have access to opportunities for work, food, shelter-the chance to live a life they determine and choose. Choice and individual freedom is the platform upon which America was built.
We have choice in everything we do and yet it has been found that too much choice can actually hinder our ability to make decisions and thus limit the freedom we have in our lives.
Too much choice can lead to analysis paralysis. When we’re presented with many options, we can become so overwhelmed that rather than making a choice, we decide not to do anything at all. The sheer volume of choices overwhelm us.
So what does this have to do with our freedom? Well, when we are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices and give up our right to make a choice, we also give away a piece of our freedom. We look to others to make choices for us believing that they are experts. Or in not making a choice, somebody else makes a choice for us, by default.
A big problem arises when we look to others to make choices for us, we become the victims of their choices, of what they want-rather than what we want or need. Because no matter how well somebody knows us, they don’t know all of our thoughts, feelings, and desires that are imperative to us leading our best lives.
We do not see ourselves as the creator or co-creator of our reality but instead a victim who is at the mercy of others.
Also, we have the subconscious satisfaction of knowing that if we are unhappy with the results of choices others have made for us, we have someone to blame. Somebody other than ourselves.
Yet, I wonder-where is the freedom in this? We love the idea of freedom and tout the virtues of what it is to live in a free country. But, when it comes down to it, are we truly free, when we allow others to make choices for us?
Or, are we really the victim of our own ignorance, lack of energy, or apathy? Do we have analysis paralysis?
If so, how do we reconnect, reengage and develop the energy to make choices based on our own thoughts and feelings?
After a long time of being asleep at the wheel of our own lives-how do we awaken and start truly living-celebrating who we are and our freedom?
It is never too late. Some may be just starting on this journey, while others are well on their way. But, wherever we are-there is ALWAYS hope…and freedom to choose!
The first step is in acknowledging the power you have and that this power comes from within yourself..to make decisions that are aligned with what you know to be true.
You may ask, “how do I know if something is true for me?”
You feel it, in your heart and your body. And if you’re not 100% sure, that’s okay. It takes time and practice.
If you haven’t trusted yourself for a long time, as was my experience for a very long time-you can learn to do it again. In fact, when you start making your own choices and doing what feels right for you-you will feel like you’re getting to know yourself again. A better, more fabulous and amazing you!
One of the many great things about finally showing up fully in life and being responsible for your choices, is when you make a choice that you turn out not liking-you make a new choice the next time. It’s that simple.
A thought that can help with this is asking yourself “What is the worst that can happen” if you make the choice. You’ll find that the answer isn’t nearly as scary as you might have thought when you started considering the choice you’re making. This thought also cuts through the swirling thoughts your brain may offer up to you to keep you from actually making a choice. So cutting through all of those what if’s, should’s, or other swirling thoughts by asking “What’s the worst that can happen,” will help you get straight to the point and realize that the worst is often not that bad. And that making the choice that is best for you, is worth it.
And, if you make the choice that ends up being wrong for you, that’s okay. We have contrast in our lives to help lead us away from what we don’t want and get closer to what we do want. When we start to make choices, this contrast will help us identify and reinforce what we truly want and our choices will follow.
As a life coach, I work with clients to help them connect with this internal guidance-this compass of truth for their lives. Being in tune with yourself is the ultimate tool to help people find and set their course, but only if they are willing to listen with an open mind.
It is not easy in today’s society to tune out the noise, but it is possible.
If you’re just getting started-daily journaling can help. In your journal it’s important to write at least three things you’re grateful for each day. I journal every morning right after I wake up, while I drink my coffee. It’s such a great way to get all of the thoughts that are swimming in my head out of my head and to set my intentions for the day. I highly recommend it.
If you’re interested in getting started in journaling and don’t know where to start, you can refer to my blog post on journaling here.
Or a 10 minute meditation practice when you first wake up is also a great way to start getting in touch with yourself and your needs.
The most important thing you can do is to start feeling your feelings, and then when you have them-to question where they come from and what they mean to you.
So this weekend as you celebrate America’s freedom, it’s a great time to also celebrate your freedom. Make choices that feel right to you and then be grateful for the ability to make choices that lead you back to your true self.
Happy Independence Day!!!
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