Finding your Personal Declaration of Independence

9th Jul 2019

This month at Levana Bratique, we’re celebrating our independence. That can take shape in so many different ways. Is it finally letting go of a toxic relationship or friendship? Is it giving yourself permission to love yourself exactly as you are right now, flaws and all?

What will your personal Declaration of Independence be this month? What if you didn’t need to lose those last 10 pounds to feel beautiful? (What if physical beauty wasn’t even one of the standards you measured yourself against?) What if your new goal was laughing a dozen times a day? Or creating something original? Or learning one new skill? Reading one new book every month? Reaching out to a friend you haven’t talked with in a while? Exploring the neighborhood next to yours? Checking out that new coffee shop or restaurant you keep meaning to go to? Giving yourself permission to say no to something you really don’t want to do? 

What if we started to value and collect experiences and relationships and personal growth instead of lip glosses?

What would you do? And what has been holding you back?

I used to be a pretty anxious person. (Full disclosure- I still lean toward being more type A, and like to plan things out, and organization brings me more satisfaction than it should.) I had a really long bucket list of things I wanted to do. I talked about doing them. I daydreamed about doing them. I even made Pinterest boards dedicated to doing them. I did everything except actually do them.

I love to travel. I love to explore new places and see new things and experience new cultures and have my horizons broadened. I don’t, however, have many friends or family that share quite the same level of travel zeal as I do. (Or the few that do don’t have flexibility in their schedules that allow them to pick up and go.) So I spent several years just adding places to my bucket list while I waited for a travel partner. Now, I don’t mind being alone- I’m ok eating at restaurants solo and going to the movies by myself. But the thought of traveling solo made me uncomfortable. I don’t like being lost, or not knowing how to get somewhere. The idea of navigating foreign lands and language barriers on my own gave me anxiety. What if I got lost? What if I missed my flight, lost my luggage, got food poisoning, looked like a foolish tourist to a local...? So I let that fear of the unknown- of the ‘what ifs’- keep me home.

Until one day it didn’t. I realized that if I was waiting for the fear to totally be gone, I would just never go. My whole life would pass by while I waited for everything to be perfect and certain. I realized that I had to trust that I could plan and prepare as much as I could, but at the end of the day, there would always be unforeseen things that came up - delayed flights, closed roads, illness.

But I also know that I’m resourceful. So I had to learn to trust myself, to believe that I’m perfectly capable of handling unforeseen obstacles and events. And that the feeling of being uncomfortable or nervous or uncertain or even scared is ok. That I can still do things while feeling afraid. I still get that tightness in my chest sometimes, where my pulse quickens and it gets hard to breathe and hot all of a sudden. But now I know that it’s just a feeling. It will pass. Sometimes quickly, and sometimes I need to take some time and breathe through it. But it always passes. And the benefits of finally moving forward with my life and my dreams have far, far exceeded those uncomfortable moments.

I just got back from Peru. It’s been on my bucket list for years. I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a birthday gift to myself. It was the most physically and emotionally challenging thing I’ve ever done. It was also the most rewarding. Did everything go exactly as planned? Nope. Not by a long shot. But I’m learning to embrace that as part of the adventure.

Life isn’t perfect. It’s messy and unorganized and stressful and full of bumps and bruises. Which is also part of what makes it so precious and beautiful.

What’s been holding you back from something you’ve been wanting to do? Fear? Insecurity? What if you resolved to not let those feelings hold you back, and do it anyway?