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July 4, 2013

Red, White & Blue

Red, White & Blue

Independence means freedom, right?
They are pretty much interchangeable to me and that is what I’ve believed back as far as I can remember. What isn’t constant back as far as I can remember, however, is what freedom has meant.

I pretty much think that to most little children, freedom means things like getting ice cream when you want it and not having to go to bed when your parents say you should. I can remember staying up until midnight once when I was visiting my cousins and feeling as free as I could want to imagine!

Then, as I got a bit older, freedom had more to do with me having a say in selecting the clothes I got to wear and being able to wear lipstick our eye shadow. Those were huge rights of passage into a world of freedom and if I recall correctly, sometimes I pulled my parents along kicking and screaming!

Once I became a bit more serious about school and my grades, freedom began to be something much more global than just how it affected me. I began to realize that there were people living in the same world I lived in, who were not permitted to say what they thought about their leaders and their government without risking their lives. Freedom now involved people in far away lands and once again, shifted to mean something very different for me.

As I learned about things like the Nazis and Holocaust and our own troubled history with slavery and integration; my appreciation for freedom deepened once again. I connected more personally to how it must have felt to be born into a world in which people couldn’t be who they were, not racially or ethnically. I felt grateful for the country and time in which I was born because it seemed as if we improved as human beings as time passed.

Once I began studying psychology and social work, freedom became more individual once again, but on an entirely different level this time. Now it had to do with a person’s right to their individual choice. It became more about not holding these choices up against a judgmental eye but rather accepting and embracing the different options and their results.

I was now able to grant others the freedom to have opinions and choose things that were different from what I thought and did, without holding it against them. In essence, I learned that I can grant others the freedom to be unique and can agree to disagree.

There is more of a live and let live tone to my understanding of freedom today. We can all grant each other these freedoms, that is a choice we all have; individually and globally. We can learn to embrace our similarities and accept our differences, without trying to judge or prove we’re better.

4th of July Fireworks

4th of July Fireworks

Maybe on this day of freedom, we can all try just a little harder to honor freedom the world over.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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