The True Meaning of Freedom and Independence

Ironically I spent the 4th of July in London this year, and while I didn’t celebrate (for obvious reasons), I did spend time thinking about freedom and independence. The two words are often paired together but they’re really quite different. We can be free but not independent, independent but not free, but there’s real power when we are able to achieve both. How do we embody them, make them a part of life?

I find it helpful to review definitions first. Once you get a handle on meaning the rest will follow.


Independent [in-di-pen-duh nt] adjective

  1. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker.
  2. not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free:
    an independent businessman.
  3. not influenced by the thought or action of others:
    independent research.
  4. not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.

There are a lot of other definitions but you get the point. When I read these definitions I think about autonomy, creativity, thinking outside of existing frameworks. Thinking for yourself.

Freedom [free-duh m] noun

  1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint:
    He won his freedom after a retrial.
  2.  exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  3. the power to determine action without restraint.
  4. political or national independence.

How do we pull more freedom and independence into our day-to-day reality?

Like everything else, it begins in the mind, with our ability to understand and then seek these things for ourselves. After spending the past few weeks touring Europe (and we cast a very large circle,–trust me–from Ireland to Vienna and beyond) I was reminded that travel remains one of the best ways to broaden my horizons, and, as a natural extension, my perspectives. It helps to leave the day-today behind for a while. Taking a step back from regular life makes it easier to look at it more objectively, more expansively. To dream and hone the vision of what the future holds. That’s only ever possible when we allow ourselves the time and space to do so. Sometimes we have to leave the country.

This month’s series will look at those who are living embodiments of these ideas and ways to cultivate more of them for ourselves.

Freedom. Independence. Say yes.


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