June 10      

Today's quotation:

So the fact that Iím me and no one else is one of my greatest assets.  Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.

Haruki Murakami
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Today's Meditation:

"Independent" doesn't just mean to be on our own.  It also means keeping our peace of mind and individuality even in the midst of a crowd, even when facing criticism or judgment.  The truly independent person isn't going to be swayed by the thoughts or the actions of the crowd.  This person is going to stay cheerful when others are stressed, stay calm when others are up in arms, and remain peaceful when others are tossed about by storms.  This person recognizes her or his intrinsic value, and lives and swears by it.

As Emerson said, we'll always find others who know how we should be living our lives, and we face their ire when we say, "No thanks.  I'm fine just as I am."  When we don't want to buy into their drama or their worldview, they often try to bring us down because they feel rejected and they want us to hurt the way they feel hurt.  But our main task here on earth is not to fit in, and not to try to be like everyone else; nor is it to try to avoid the anger of others simply for being who we are.

We learn very early to "fit in."  When our friends chose to do something stupid, we very often went along with it even though we knew it was stupid.  After all, we didn't want them to be mad at us.  Unfortunately, this is a tendency that sticks with many of us all the way through our lives, and one of the most important tasks we can undertake is to reclaim our independence and make our choices based on what we know is right and what we truly want to do, rather than on what others want or expect us to do.

My independence is a great gift, but only if I take full advantage of it to become my own person.  And when I celebrate and exercise that independence, I'm becoming the person I was meant to be rather than the person that others expect me to be.  And there really aren't too many things in life more important than taking full advantage of the amazing gifts that we've been given, so let's be ourselves and make our decisions independent of the expectations and judgments of others.  We'll contribute a whole lot more to the world when we do so.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people seem to place so little importance on their independence?

What are some of the most important elements of our independence?  How can we help ourselves to live independently in a world that so often demands conformity?

What's the difference between independence and interdependence?  How do the two concepts relate to each other?

For further thought:

Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live on a barren heath.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

more on independence



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