July 4th marks the celebration of America’s Independence from British rule. It was on this day in 1776 that the thirteen colonies declared they were no longer subject to the rules, restrictions, and ideologies being imposed on them by a monarch positioned across an ocean and out of touch with the colonists’ daily lives.  

As human beings, we have the same ability to declare our independence from the negative, unproductive thoughts and beliefs that may have been imposed on us by a ruler who is no longer part of our lives. It is up to us to ask ourselves if our current thoughts and behaviors are creating the life we desire, or if they are unconsciously perpetuating an experience that belonged our parents, grandparents, church, or educators.  

No one can give us permission to live the life of our dreams. We must claim it for ourselves. And, as the saying goes, the first step toward getting what you want out of life is deciding what you want.

What is it that YOU want? 

Do you desire better relationships with the people you care about? Less anxiety about the future? Better boundaries at work? Greater progress toward goals, or simply a kinder, more supportive relationship with yourself? 

I encourage you to become mindful of what you want. I also encourage you to ask yourself why you feel the way you feel, why you say the things you say, and why you behave in the manner you behave.  In order to change our thinking and our actions, we need to understand what motivates our thoughts and behaviors. To gain the freedom to think and behave differently, we must become aware of what is driving us in the first place. 

Ask yourself why you’re feeling sad, mad, disappointed, or frustrated. Write about it in a journal. Talk about it with a trusted friend. Spend time in nature. Get quiet. Meditate on it. Allow yourself the space to find the answers.  

This Fourth of July, let’s declare our own independence from self-limiting, unproductive, negative thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve us. Let’s give ourselves permission to envision and create the life of our dreams. 

Freedom is yours. The only person standing in the way is you.Β 

This article appeared in the July 2019 issue of St. Johns Magazine

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