It’s hard to believe that the 4th of July is just around the corner—and that it might even be a “normal” one! Do you remember how 12 months ago, it felt so difficult to celebrate our independence when we were all pretty much sequestered at home together?
What a long way we have come!
Beyond the backyard barbeques and fireworks, I like to reflect on what July 4th means. Back in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed, it marked an important time in history when, following the Revolutionary War, the 13 American Colonies were officially free from the rule of the British monarchy.
For the people living back then, and especially those who led and fought the war, it took a lot of grit and determination to persevere long enough to gain control of their government and the lives of people living in the Colonies.
The Power of Your Own Strength
I see a parallel between the events of July 1776 and some of the day-to-day struggles a lot of people face. For instance, many have a personal war going on within themselves, especially those who have endured any kind of trauma. If this rings a bell, there may be a part of you who recognizes something isn’t right, and another part that would prefer to tuck those feelings away in a neat little box—like I did for many years. But I also know that if you dig deep enough, you will find the grit and courage to face your own battles and work through them, to achieve the emotional freedom that is worth fighting for.I know that if you dig deep enough, you will find the grit and courage to face your own battles and work through them to achieve the emotional freedom that is worth fighting for. Click To Tweet
Holding Your Ground to Stay Healthy
Another thing that comes to my mind is the challenge of maintaining your autonomy when others are trying to coerce you to give into bad habits that you work hard to keep out of your life. July 4th celebrations are notorious for this. They can be really fun, but what is served there might not feel so fun on July 5th. There always seems to be plenty of:
- Macaroni salad
- Hot dogs (eewww!)
- Flag-decorated cupcakes
All of these will negatively impact your health. It’s just not worth it.
Instead of caving in, use your personal independence and “just say no” to those temptations. Better yet, offer to bring some brain-healthy side dishes, which you can eat and everyone else will love too. I’ve got plenty of free recipes for you to check out on my website.
You are the Boss of Your Life
Also, every day of your adult life, you get to be the boss of yourself and have control over your decisions and actions. I think it’s critical to remember this because, despite your independence, you have interdependent relationships with others—your family, friends, and community. That said, you still get to pick and choose who is part of your close circle. The reason I think this is so important is because not everyone you know will treat you the way you want them to and some people will try to bring their personal drama into your life.
But, even if you care a lot about people who behave in ways such as these, you are in charge of your life and you get to set appropriate boundaries with others to let them know what is and is not ok for you. In fact, just because you might be related to someone doesn’t mean you have to concede and let them in closer than you want. In cases like this, I suggest you do what I have done, and “love them at a distance.”
As a human being, you have the gift of independence which means that every day you get to decide what is best for you. And I don’t mean this in the selfish sense of wanting the world to revolve around you, but rather that each day you are the one who gets to make moment-to-moment decisions about who and what best serves your mental and physical well-being.
I encourage to take some time to reflect on any areas in your life where it might feel like other people or certain behaviors have control over you. Then, identify what you can change and use your grit to make the change happen!
For more inspiration and to learn more about how I overcame my past trauma, order my recent memoir, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.