Journaling Exercise: What does Independence Mean to You?


The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness.

Virginia Woolf


Happy 4th of July to all American peeps! The world seems topsy-turvey, but the American heroes have at least once again saved us from the aliens. Gotta be happy about that :-) I hope you are enjoying a lovely long weekend. 

Every year, around the world, many nations celebrate their independence day. There are nations, who are still waiting for that status. Then there are others, like England, who has never been ruled by someone else and therefore does not have an independence day. I think the further we get from the fight from independence, the easier it is to see it as merely a holiday, to lose touch with the reality of what our forefathers fought for. 

But independence, like any important value, is rarely black and white. I grew up in India. People fought for independence from England, yet it can’t be denied that the British Raaj brought with it a multitude of benefits. Is that a reason enough to be ruled by someone? In my opinion, no….but perhaps in someone else’s opinion,  yes.

Let’s take that to individual level. I am sure you know people who are in unhappy relationships, but they remain there, because it makes financial sense, or because they don’t want to lose the lovely house or the lifestyle they are in. Or perhaps someone who is reliant on their parents though in their adult life. Perhaps you know a woman or a man, who is emotionally dependent on their spouse. Perhaps you know someone who can’t eat alone in a restaurant, or can’t go to cinema or theatre by themselves. 

There are many ways to look at independence. It is also possible to be independence in one or more ways, while being dependent in one or more ways. 

So today, in your journal, I would like you to ponder this question: What does independence mean to you? You can write about it in any sense you like: national, political, financial, individual, marital…or mix it up. Go with the flow. Write about however it comes to you. 

Remember, just keep writing as fast as you can. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling mistakes. Just go with the flow. Let your mind connect your notions of independence. It may surprise you. 



Get that journal out, and celebrate Independence Day with more self-awareness by doing the above exercise!