Independence Day – What Does It Mean To You?

Two hundred and forty-two years ago, a group of men, nearly half of them lawyers, came together and agreed on a single, defining principle that has shaped this great nation of ours.

They all agreed to not be answerable to a distant, foreign ruler and that instead, they would create their destiny. They started with a blank sheet of paper and came up with the Declaration of Independence.

While we claimed independence in 1776, today, many Americans feel shackled. They are free, at least according to the Constitution, but they are not truly free.

What Is Real Freedom?

What have you freed yourself from? Or, what do you need to free yourself of? Is remaining shackled to guilt, shame, and defeat, freedom? This July in 2021, pledge to overcome guilt, self-defeat and shame.   Live out the American dream…the dream of our ancestors.

Freedom from Guilt:

Here’s the deal – guilt is a feeling. Feelings need to be validated. We need to find ways to accept, integrate, and move forward with these feelings. We cannot stop feeling guilty because someone tells us to. So, when it comes to why we feel guilt, it is important to reflect on the reasons for our guilt and then consider ways we can cope with guilt. But first and foremost, we need to accept that guilt is a common and normal feeling in grief. Again, what are you holding on to that you need to let go?

Freedom from Shame: 

Shame is the dark demon in our closet — the monster under our beds. It prowls everywhere: at work, in our families, at school, on the Internet. Shame uses our appearance, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, financial status, addictions, and age against us to tear us down. It has no limits or boundaries. 

Shame and humiliation trigger a primal survival response, and when this happens, the rational part of our brain usually shuts down. A mantra refocuses your mind, reminding you to act instead of re-acting. Pick a mantra that resonates with you. 

Here are a few of my favorite mantras:

  • “Action is the antidote to despair.” —Joan Baez 
  • “If you give your fear legs, it will run away with your dreams.” —L. Collins
  • “Excellence does not require perfection.” —Henry James
  • “As you make moves, Fear will come up, but Action cures Fear. (Isolate your Fear) and take Action.” —Deb Foggio 

Carry one with you (in your wallet or purse) or record it on your phone. Choose one as a screen saver for your computer. Write one on your bathroom mirror where you’ll see it every day.

Freedom From Self Defeat: 

Most people want their feelings to be the catalyst of their actions. They believe that what they feel should determine what they do, instead of the other way around. The way to unwind an emotional spiral is to start doing what you need to do even if you don’t feel like doing it. Let your commitment to your long-term goals guide your daily actions, not impulse responses to your every whim and desire.

When you’re feeling particularly self-conscious, it’s easy to start thinking that you can’t do something, when in reality, it’s more the case that you probably don’t want to because it has the potential to make you super uncomfortable. Change your thinking, then. Replace “I can’t” thoughts with “I won’t.” Don’t let your fear eclipse your ability.

  • Freedom is all about liberating yourself from self-harming emotions and feelings – fears, guilt, and self-doubt. 


Kimberly Richardson