Bonita Springs — As we celebrate our country’s Independence during the month of July, we should also take time to prepare our minds and hearts for independence in our own lives. We can begin by reflecting on the words of our forefathers:
“All men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
How do we value our own life? How great a price do we put on our liberty?
And, how can we live each day in the pursuit of happiness?
Life is a true gift that must be cherished. Likewise, we should cherish the lives of the people around us — not necessarily agreeing with them at all times, but respecting their right to their own opinion and encouraging their positive actions. If we live our life in a wholesome way, reaching out to others, learning, growing and being open to change, we will be better able to cherish the gift of our life and see it increase in value and meaningfulness.
Liberty, or freedom, comes in many different forms. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion are ones we use daily; sometimes without even realizing their value! While these freedoms are invaluable, they come with a great deal of responsibility.
Although we are free to use our speech, we need to be mindful that we use it to build, rather than tear down. Rumors, gossip, and innuendo can be extremely damaging. Avoid it at all costs! Freedom of religion is also invaluable but should not be forced upon anyone. Choosing and using your religion through words and actions can make a significant impact in your life. Keep in mind that religion isn’t about the building where you go to pray. Rather, it’s about living your faith in word and action.
Using your freedoms in the way they were intended when our forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence will ensure your happiness.
The ideas initially expressed by Thomas Jefferson, who happens to be one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time, as well as our other forefathers, were given to us so that we could live in community, without infringing upon the rights of others, leading us to happiness. Using our freedoms well — freedom to choose, freedom to express yourself, freedom to worship — will help you to live a valuable and fruitful life! Here are a few thoughts to consider:
—Life: Every day of our life is a gift. How we make use of that gift is entirely up to us
—Liberty: Seeking truth in your life will make you free. Be sure to have people in your life who can help you seek the truth, such as: friends, rabbis, ministers, psychologists.
—Pursuit of happiness: Service to others and always doing your best in your professional and personal life is a certain roadmap to happiness.
Finally, with all of those thoughts penned, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the service men and women who provide our country freedom. Without them, without their efforts and sacrifice, there would be no freedom for anyone in the United States. Therefore, with grateful hearts and a keen awareness, please remember to be thankful for all of those who have served and those who now serve our country! And, may God Bless America!
Dr. Stan J. Strycharz is a licensed, clinical psychologist practicing in Bonita Springs. He can be contacted at www.drstan.net.