The 4th of July is about our independence from England…But more than that, it’s about the creation of our own country.
If there could be a metaphor about love here filled with the kind of love advice that talks about being independent and inter-dependent in a romantic relationship…would that look like cannons, and battle, and sparklers and conflict?
Or would that look more like the coming together of battle leaders and statesmen to negotiate an experiment in how to run a country without a king or queen. How each person (theoretically) could have a bit of power to make the big decisions and somehow be represented.
Or maybe it’s everything: Conflict, passion, attack, surrender, leaders and followers, negotiating, statesmanship, creating union, creating freedom, creating a new model for life, making decisions. Standing on your own two feet. Believing in yourself. Believing in each other. Plus romance, sex, laughing, sitting around…
So, let’s just call this independence from tyranny, and at the same time, creation of a harmonious new union where it’s as much of a win-win for everyone as possible.
In relationship, we want to be independent of judgment and control and all the pain and misunderstanding that’s accumulated in our lives.
And we want to create a union where there’s a clear responsibility on everyone’s part, and a clear sense of the need for respect, and a clear sense of the need for everyone to be heard. A clear sense of compassion. A clear sense of “team.”
Think of YOURSELF as Independent – And Your Own Independence – This Way:
Independent from judgment and control and tyranny and old pain. Free from all that.
Free to create harmony and union between all the voices and impulses and needs inside you.
The agreement to respect, hear, have compassion for every part of you.
A sense of “team” – that everything about you – your past, present, future, thoughts, imagination, nasty voices, yearnings – all of it – are on the same team.
The team called YOU.
And that when a man joins you in a life union – you will both bring your teams to the union, and expand to create a new team between you – with all the parts of each of you under the same umbrella.
Just because you are still YOU, with your team intact, under the umbrella and embracing arms of this new, bigger team…you are still capable of leaving the umbrella of the new team with your own team intact.
That’s all there really is to independence – you’ll be okay without him.
But it doesn’t mean you hold your team as “separate” from his.
It’s as though lovers and children and judges and all the parts of each of you get intermingled. Maybe they don’t all put on the same uniforms, or maybe your team has special badges, but you don’t hold back while you’re playing and working and loving together.
And together – you help each other stay unified – you help each other keep the team together no matter what. And, especially, you hear all the voices there are.
And you let none of them run you.
Independence is, at core, your personal freedom from the tyranny of being at the mercy of anyone else. From, what Blanche DuBois says in Streetcar Named Desire” – “…the kindness of strangers…” because you have no other options.
But even more – in some circumstances where you are in need of the kindness of strangers – you still are in sole possession of your heart an soul.
Love is complicated, because we’ve, each of us, learned it means different things.