Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Declaration of Independence

As we celebrate America’s independence this week it is equally important to reflect and consider our personal victories and freedoms. Each of us has had to work to evolve into the person that stands today. For some the work consisted of earning an education, securing a job, and taking care of family. Others have had much more colorful journeys sprinkled with pain, loss, illness, abuse, and/or self-destructive behavior. No matter where your story falls, it is often helpful to take a moment to recognize—or maybe even declare for the first time—your independence from being ruled by negativity or a low sense of self-worth.

Most know whether they are an optimist or a pessimist. Some are prone to redirecting every situation toward the positive side of life and can find purpose in anything. Others are determined to use any negative or unfavorable circumstance as proof that the world is cruel and unforgiving. While I have witnessed and experienced situations that reflect more heartbreak and senselessness than most are aware, I maintain a belief that we have the ability to set the course of our lives by developing mental resilience, a hope-filled outlook, and loving ourselves enough to refuse anything less than love, respect, and support from others.

You may not be exactly where you’d like to be, but you are most certainly not where you were ten, five, or even two years ago. Maybe you can only see what you haven’t done or where your life has deficiencies and lack. Maybe you feel like where you are isn’t remotely close to what you pictured. The good news is that as long as there’s tomorrow, there’s hope. As long as there’s tomorrow, you can free yourself from whatever has previously held you back. As long as there’s tomorrow, you have the option to live a life independent of negative thoughts, unfulfilled relationships, and some of the side effects lingering from your past.

Make your own declaration of independence. This time next year, when you sit with family and friends to celebrate another year of America’s independence, you can also celebrate an independence of your own. You may have freed yourself from the presence of negative people, reduced or stopped your own negative self-talk, refused to allow fear to make decisions for you, or simply loved yourself enough to require more than what you previously permitted. When we make a conscious effort to free ourselves from negativity we gain the courage to pursue a life of fullness and satisfaction, and there is nothing more liberating than living life with joyful anticipation.

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