The 4th of July is the quintessential celebration of independence. As a proud American, I thank all of those who have served and given their lives to protect our freedom. It is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. Who doesn’t l love summertime, a day off work, fun with family and friends, and the countless parades and firework shows?
When I reflect on the meaning of independence at a personal level, I think of strength, capability, confidence, and security. Seldom do we use the word independent in any negative context. I think it is important to draw a distinction between being independent – and being alone.
As a child, we seek independence from our parents. As a student, we seek independence from our teachers. And as an adult, we can seek independence from any myriad of responsibilities! This doesn’t mean we want separation from our relationships – it means we don’t want them to control us. Let’s take financial independence as an example. We don’t need to win the lottery to be financially independent, we just need to work and save enough so that when an opportunity arises we have the ability to say yes and not be constrained by money. It means having enough to share with others and do what you want; to enjoy life unencumbered.
When it comes to dating, how do you rank independence? Are you looking for someone to control you, or just lead the way? Or, are you looking for someone to walk alongside you and share experiences with you? If it is the latter, then you must both be somewhat independent for it to work. Independence within a relationship means you have the confidence, strength, capability, and security to make decisions. You are part of the whole – you are equally in control and together. When you realize that you are both contributing your own independent thoughts and ideas, the relationship will blossom. Who knows, perhaps you are right on the verge of taking your relationship to the next level!
Don’t be scared of losing your independence, embrace the idea that it is at the center of your bond and part of the magnetism you are feeling for each other. We’ve all heard the saying that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” If you and your partner are each contributing to your relationship independently, you will inevitably enhance your experience and set sail on a great journey. I hope that in the horizon you not only see fireworks, but are also close enough to feel them this 4th of July!