On dictionary.com, independence is described as freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. This morning I read an article about why Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise – who knows if it’s the truth or not, but allow me to use it as an example that could be true. The article gave many examples of how TC has not allowed KH to live independently – where he stifled her ability to live her life in a way that made her feel free to make her own choices. The reason I use this example (not just because I secretly think I could have been a celebrity reporter – a legit, respected one! ) is that I think this type of relationship can be common. I would bet each of us knows of a couple where one of the people is overbearing in a way that is not healthy. It comes from a place of fear – for both the one controlling and the one allowing themselves to be controlled.
On this day, the day our country gained its independence, my wish for all of us is to recognize when others are attempting to control us or influence us in a way that does not resonate with our core values and belief system. Oprah often talks about when something in our life is not quite right (a choice, a relationship, a job, etc.), that the universe lets us know and when we really pay attention, we truly know the right thing to do.
“I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. And a whisper in your life usually feels like ‘hmm, that’s odd.’ Or, ‘hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.’ Or, ‘hmm, is that right?’ It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder. I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head. If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that—the brick wall falls down. That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives. And so, I ask people, ‘What are the whispers? What’s whispering to you now?'” — Oprah
Oprah’s mentor and friend, Maya Angelou, says – ‘when you know better, you do better’. I think the knowingness of what we need to do and the reality of putting it into action can be scary. Another powerful woman, Pema Chödrön, asks us to ‘smile at fear – live from the heart’ and be filled with potential. You cannot do that if you are controlling someone else or when you are living a life controlled by another person.