The post below was originally published in 2011, and it's been updated each year to reflect where I am in my life and the new...Read More
Declare Your Independence
I don’t consider myself an overly patriotic person, but with the current political atmosphere and the 4th of July looming, I’ve found myself thinking quite a bit about personal beliefs and my role in our democracy. The United States Declaration of Independence truly is an extraordinary document. As this essay points out, at a time when our founding father could have written a declaration of war, they first crafted a Declaration of Independence—and the concept of that kind of document has personal applications, too: “This is a helpful notion when applied to relationships among individuals, not just among states.”
Before you head off to a long weekend of sun, hot dogs, and fireworks, I’ve got a challenge for you! Take a few minutes and think about the things in your life that can sometimes make you feel like the universe has got its jackboot tamped down on your throat.
Is there a force—internal or external—that’s keeping you from being the best you? Declare your independence from that thing.
It won’t be too hard—here’s an outline to get you started, based on the 5-part structure of the Declaration of Independence:
Preamble: Why are you writing this document?
Philososphical Foundation: What gives you the right to declare your independence?
List of Grievances: How have your rights been violated?
Explanation of Previous Actions: What have you already done to solve the problems up to this point?
Resolution: What do you now intend to do?
Need a little inspiration? Here’s a blog post from a licensed counselor with more guidance about how to write a personal declaration of independence. I especially like this part:
“We each can benefit from reflecting upon what we believe is essential for our life to be meaningful, rewarding, just, productive and contributing to the greater good. Put those thoughts, feelings and beliefs into written form and you have… The Personal Declaration of Independence.”
I’m going to set aside some time over the weekend to write my own Personal Declaration of Independence, and I’ll update this post with my essay when it’s finished. If you like what you come up with, post it in the comments section and share the love.