5 Ways To Rock Freedom From Oppression: #LoveWins On This Independence Day.
On this July 4th, I wanted to take the time to honor this day, our country, ourselves… and independence in general.
When thinking about independence, the words autonomy and sovereignty come to mind. It’s a struggle, and at times even a battle, to have authority over your territory. This is true whether the territory is a country or oneself. If we are talking about independence, we are talking about being freed from something.
We can only get free and experience true independence through compassion, love and the wisdom of boundaries.
1. Independence With Yourself
Within ourselves, we can feel self-oppression. It comes from different parts of ourselves being overly critical and harsh. These parts are trying to protect us in the only way they learned how… by force. By validating these concerns from a place of love, that the battle starts to subside.
By learning how to love all these parts, we learn freedom from self-aggression and self-oppression. When we feel free and confident within ourselves, we know our boundaries and our needs clearly.
2. Independence With Family
When we come from families that have been enmeshed or plagued with neglect, independence is particularly confusing. When families are all up in each other’s business, leaving or doing things differently from the group feels wrong and bad. With neglect, we can become hardened and feel we must take everything on alone.
Neither extreme works. Enmeshment does not allow the sense of autonomy or independence to grow. And we need those things to be an adult in the world. Doing it all alone is not real independence, as it often leads to isolation and depression. The middle ground is loving ourselves and others in a way that is free, but still connected.
3. Independence With Relationships
In our partnerships with others, we tend to play out patterns of early dynamics. This can lead to situations in which another person oppresses us — emotionally, verbally or sexually. Our emotions, body and lives can feel as though they belong to another.
Sometimes this happens in other ways that cause suffering like co-dependent relationships. Boundaries and self-compassion are ways to re-claim our lives, our bodies and our freedom. Use this holiday to celebrate your freedom to choose. Choose how close or far you want to be with friends, family and intimate relationships.
Choose love, honor your boundaries without fear, but with the wisdom of what is true for you. I love celebrating my wedding anniversary on July 4th, because even though we are completely loving and interdependent, we have autonomy, ladies brunch and poker night.
4. Independence In Society
Oh boy, we have a horrid track record with this one: racism, sexism, bigotry, and oppression because of gender, sexuality, age, body type, religion… the list goes on and on. We want to see ourselves as separate from each other and end up destroying each other because of it.
Our survival depends on our interdependence with each other. By honoring that we are all human, vulnerable and loveable, we can become independent from oppression and from oppressing one another.
5. Independence As a Nation
As a nation, we have a long way towards freeing ourselves from all forms of oppression. Sure, we are free from old King George III, but this is the least of our issues today. Clouded by shootings, wars, racism, sexism, bigotry and massive materialism, America can evoke complex feelings even for the strongest patriots.
Early on the morning of June 26th, I felt sad that I did not feel the sense of unity I craved as an American. Then it happened. I checked my news feed and I felt the pride again! It took way too long, but finally same-sex marriage has been ruled as legal in this country. I feel the warmth and the pride I know this country is capable of.
I am reminded of the goodness and respect for humanity that exists underneath all the defenses and protection we have individually and as a nation. My hope is that this freedom from oppression continues to lift for all.
This July 4th, honor your body, honor your choices, and honor your freedom. Let’s all be curious about ways to continue to lift oppression for ourselves and for others as we enjoy this July 4th as #LoveWins.
Adrienne Glasser is a Licensed Certified Social Worker and Registered Dance Movement Therapist, who has been helping clients to find their intuitive path towards healing for over 15 years. She is currently enrolled in the Meditation Teacher Training at The Interdependence Project, where she explores how to integrate teachings on meditation with her psychotherapy experience. She leads intensive weekends and trainings for professionals where she teaches Active Insight and Experiential Therapy theory and techniques. She maintains her private practice in Manhattan and is also the Director of Services at her group practice Experience Wellness Group. Through Experience Wellness, she facilitates weekly groups and workshops infusing Active Insight to help people recover compassion for themselves and others.