“It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question ‘who am I’ except the voice inside herself.”
― Betty Friedan
The celebration of freedom and independence means something different to each person. Until my divorce, I had not really given any real thought to what these two words meant to me. Yes, I took time to appreciate the freedoms that being an American affords me and on July 4th, would acknowledge these freedoms with family, friends and fabulous fireworks!
Leading up to and through my divorce, these two words, freedom and independence, took on an entirely new meaning for me. In fact, it was the exploration of what they meant to me that allowed me to begin to understand what I truly wanted my life to look and feel like.
So here is a little bit about what freedom and independence mean to me and the future I am creating.
I strive every day to fully accept and embrace the gift of life that I possess; The beautiful vessel that is my body and the magic that is my mind. It is easy to take these gifts for granted and forget to take care of them. Being independent and free can only be explored when built on the foundation of good health; physically, spiritually and emotionally.
With my mind, my body and my soul, I am able to do, be and create anything that I want; one step at a time. The only limitations are those that I put on myself which will only happen if I allow fear to drive my direction.
Freedom for me is being free to express who I am and what I want in a way that honors the magnificence of all human beings. Not only my lover/partner, children, family and friends, but all those with whom I come into contact. It is taking responsibility for the way I speak to, the way I act towards and the way I treat others. Our words and actions have the power to hurt or to heal others and this is a responsibility I take seriously.
Freedom for me is giving myself permission to make choices and decisions in my life that feed my mind, body and soul, and that allow me to continuously grow into the woman I am meant to be. I am grateful for the gift of choice and use it to surround myself with people who inspire, empower and support me to further evolve and grow. I recognize that in growing my connection to others who appreciate and respect their freedoms, we are able to share and spread them to even more people.
Freedom for me is standing firmly in my role as a woman, mother, daughter, sister, lover, partner and friend. It is the ability to define these roles around who I am at my core. This freedom is the gift of being able to step into each of these roles and ROCK each one! I love each one of them and together, they become the fabric of who I am as a woman! I can be exactly the mother I want to be by fully embracing the uniqueness that is me, just as I do with my partner, my family and my friends.
For many years in my marriage I did not feel free; nor did I feel independent as a woman. It would be easy to say that my husband “controlled” our life, but the reality is that I allowed it; in fact I didn’t do much to assert myself and what I wanted. Blaming would be easier, but it is not the truth. I gave up my power, my freedom and my independence with my desire to be a “good” wife and mother. What I did not understand at the time was that in owning my freedom and my independence, I woud become a stronger, healthier and whole woman and therefore, a more exceptional wife and mother.
While there are many things that I can’t control, my ability to be independent and free is well within my control. This was one of the greatest lessons I learned from my divorce.
Divorce can often lead us to feel less in control than we really are. In fact, with all of the emotions divorce can create, feeling paralyzed and unable to embrace our new freedom and independence is common. Reclaiming our personal power and learning how to embrace our new freedom and independence is a critical part of the divorce journey.
This week, where we celebrate our National Independence Day, I hope you will join me in committing to reclaiming your freedom and your independence. They are gifts that cost nothing, and open the door to priceless rewards.