On July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming themselves as “Free and Independent States” and severing ties with that “tyrant” King George. That, of course, is what all this weekend’s fireworks and band music and such across the U.S. is meant to celebrate.

While that is certainly worth celebrating, I wonder if, this year, it might be time to declare independence from a few more personal tyrants. Things that tax us unfairly and make our lives a burden—and I’m not talking about the IRS. What if on this Independence Day we joined together to declare that we will no longer be governed by:

  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Perfectionism
  • Fear
  • Comparisons
  • Control

That long-ago Continental Congress had to take a stand and proclaim their independence in order to make it come true. Looking back from 240 years later, that seems like a no-brainer—but at the time, it was a gutsy move. Declaring independence from our inner tyrants can feel risky, too . . . but just imagine what it will be like to be free.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women are created by a God who loves them, and are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among them the right to:

  • Laugh
  • Relax
  • Love
  • Flourish
  • Shine

“For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”  Thomas Jefferson, June 24, 1826, Monticello