12 Jun Independence Revealed: How truly free are we?

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
― Marianne WilliamsonA Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Liberty.
 
For those of us who grew up in the post – Marcos era, we couldn’t quite comprehend the concept of liberty and yes, even if we’re Filipinos and have been colonized more times than we can count including a long standing love affair with a woman who loved shoes way too much, we can’t seem to wrap our heads around the reality that there used to be a time when we were not as free as we are today.
 
And by free, I mean we can freely believe what we want to believe them to be, share these beliefs with others while pursuing things that we are passionate about. When you look at it from a bigger perspective, it’s easy to see that on most days, we really are blessed. There are so many countries that don’t allow simple leisure of believing what you want to believe in and doing what you wish to do.
 
Despite this, despite the glorious freedom of having the world at your fingertips due to technology, we’re still trapped. As the 116th Independence Day draws near, I can’t help but reflect on why so many people continue to be trapped by their own demons.
 
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We keep harping about the importance of liberty and yet here we are throwing it away because of our own fears, regrets, and our own ideals of how our lives should be. Day to day we’re told to take risks and sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that we are taking those risks, but in truth, we’re not. We constantly tell ourselves that we’re living life the way we want to live and fighting the causes that we’re passionate about and yet we’re delegated to sitting behind our computer screen being keyboard warriors. We rant about the things we want to change but we’re too scared to leave the comforts of our homes. We shout and say that as women we’re finally gaining equality, yet we allow ourselves to be defined by the man we’re dating. We’re still in the shadows. We say we’re grateful that we’re given the ability to love and yet how many times have we allowed ourselves to be stopped because we fear that we won’t be loved back?
 
Yes, we’re celebrating freedom but are we making use of it? We may not be oppressed or colonized, but we’re still trapped. What are we doing with our freedom? Are we using it in ways that make our heroes proud or are we simply going on with our daily lives of sweet comfort and not even tinkering on the edge? Do we fear getting hurt so much that we erect our own walls? Why the hell are we so afraid of getting hurt? It’s the worst thing in the world yes, but guess what? You’re stronger than the worst pain.
 
Make use of this independence and do something worthwhile, make a difference, and be brave enough to go after what you want because in doing so, you liberate others as well. Stop hiding, stop cowering, go out there and make the most of what so many heroes died for us to have.
 
You’re a gladiator so act like one.

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