The upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend celebrating the birth of the United States and the freedom we enjoy is a great time for our nation, our families and our local communities. Taking the time to reflect on the blessings of freedom and the sacrifices made on the altar of freedom to keep us free is an important part of our national holiday.
Our nation has a great history. Relative to many other nations in the world, we have a relatively young history. In full transparency, we can openly discuss the ups and downs and the pains and gains of freedom in our nation and our impact around the world.
Just as our nation has its own history, each one of us has our own history and story behind our lives. Our own personal history very much shapes who we are and our view of the world. We may not be as open and transparent with our full life’s history like our nation’s history is on display, but just like our nation, some of our history is painful and some of it is cause for great celebration.
As we continue on the journey to build and strengthen our character, we all need an important reminder about the most forgotten freedom. This forgotten freedom is the essence of the foundation of life itself. This forgotten freedom transcends a nation’s borders, encompasses all people of all faiths and all walks of life.
The forgotten freedom is the freedom we all possess to choose our response in any given situation.
The freedom to choose our response is the initial gateway to reach our full potential.
The forgotten freedom is not listed on a formal declaration of independence, declared on some approved political document, or sanctioned by some governing body. The freedom to choose our response in any given situation is provided to all people regardless of place of birth, economic status, race, or religion.
Many times in life, we will use our personal history as a reason for our response, whether effective or ineffective. We often times will blame our past as a rationale for poor choices and outcomes that fell short of expectations.
The timeless, universal, and self-evident truth found in the forgotten freedom reminds us that we are responsible for the choices we make today, regardless of our history.
When we see ourselves as free to choose our response in any situation, there are several positive outcomes that result from our choice:
- Restrictions are minimized: We are no longer bound to the negative side of our personal history that may hinder our growth. The painful comments of others in our past, the expectations of others that may box us into a certain way of life, or the negative voice inside our head that creates a huge barrier to our future growth become less restrictive.
- A new source of energy is unleashed: There is energy contained in the freedom to choose. When we see ourselves as unshackled from a painful past, the limitations based on the expectations of others, we experience the full energy of freedom. As Moshe Dayan, the military and political leader of Israel during some difficult times in the 20th Century said, “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.”
- A positive example is set for others: When we live a life that demonstrates to others the freedom to choose a more effective response even in the most difficult situations, we will have a positive impact on others. The example we set will impact those around us, especially those closest to home.
It is not easy breaking free of the confines of our past, but as we continue to exercise this most forgotten freedom, the freedom to choose our response regardless of our situation, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and our Character Creates Opportunity® to reach our full potential and be a positive impact on those around us.