This week we celebrate freedom in the United States. The 4th of July literally marks the day we celebrate obtaining national sovereignty.
Now when you know there will be fireworks and concerts and parades celebrating these words, it makes you think about them, deeply for at least a minute or two.
I blog about marriage, so this won’t be a long post about the state of freedom in the world. I have 4 words for that: I wish it was better.
But it will be an invitation to think about freedom and sovereignty as it relates to your relationship and your life.
Because my hypothesis is that wherever there is a lack of freedom there is a lack of love. It might be love in the form of trust or forgiveness or generosity or acceptance. I often see love like a prism, comprised of all our best qualities put together. This also makes love the universal healer. It doesn’t matter the issue, apply love to it and it will heal. Like water to a plant, there is no other outcome.
The Google definition of freedom is – “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”
For sovereignty it is, “the authority of a state to govern itself or another state.”
I know I feel freedom in my marriage because I can be fully and completely who I am, countless imperfections and all without restraint. I just show up as me, do the best I can and give it my all.
Some of us have had relationships where it wasn’t like that. We show up as the “dressed up, watered-down, most geopolitically-correct” version of ourselves that we can muster.
And course, it doesn’t go well.
For me it’s usually been the opposite – I show up 100% and that doesn’t work either because very few people are used to showing themselves to another without restraint, without masks or pretense. So when you do that, in a sea of people who don’t, you end up alone more often than not.
I did for a long time. Until I met my graphic-novel reading, video-game playing, computer-engineer husband who was unapologetically all those things.
He proposed 6 months after we met and I said yes. Some of my friends thought I was crazy. Well they always thought that, in this case just crazi-er than the usual.
Next year is our 10th anniversary. Why does it work?
Freedom. That’s why.
To be ourselves. To be messy and wonderful and vulnerable and whole and real all at the same time.
Sovereignty helps too. We treat each other like adults. Like we each have authority over our own lives and choices. We deeply care about each other’s lives and choices but we don’t use force to gain agreement.
We use diplomacy – “the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way” in the Google dictionary.
(By the way, just in case you haven’t tried this, you can put definition of and any word after that and Google will give you the definition. It’s like electronic magic to me.)
I am describing what freedom feels like to me only to give you an example for when you ask yourself – “What does freedom feel like? Right here, right now?”
This is the week to ask that question. And to act on the answer.
If you are experiencing the power of freedom – celebrate it, revel in it, and savor it. Cue the fireworks.
If you are craving more freedom somewhere in your life – notice it, identify it, and then stake your claim, fight for it – not in the traditional sense, but in the “putting forth a determined effort” kind of way.
Use your sovereignty, your ability to govern yourself, your actions, your perspectives, and your decisions to create the space for freedom, in your relationship and in your life.
We have the power to govern ourselves. Free will, free choice, and free thought. We can use this power every day to create a beautiful life we love.
Freedom and Sovereignty are not just for governments. They never were. Because governments are made of people. Like you and me.
What does freedom feel like? Take that question with you all week. And answer it.
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