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At What Point Do We Make OUR OWN Declaration of INDEPENDENCE?

I’m not your son, you’re not my father, we’re just two grown men saying goodbye.

–James Blunt (Monsters)

Like many if not most people, I grew up without a clear sense of self. It had been “traumad” out of me.

We all seek confidence, and when we can’t find it inside ourselves we seek it on the outside. I became a follower. Not having a relationship with my father, I followed my older brother. And then neighborhood people. Then sports and rock stars. My role models became more and more rebellious.

I suffered in my life because of that, and once the results of my life reached their logical (illogical) conclusion, I began to put the brakes on, and seek a different way. But what I didn’t realize was that I had merely switched out one type of role model for another.

This pattern has continued for my whole life. I still have some of “the follower” in me.

I have been greatly pained seeing this syndrome in friends around me. Some of them seek the same independence I seek, and yet are still languishing under the yoke of following somebody else’s “star.” And that person is following somebody else. And so on…

I believe recognition is the first sign of freedom. I have slowed down enough to begin to recognize that I haven’t been living my own life. In our desire to be “strong,” we tend to disregard the admonitions of others, or even our own conscience, when confronted with the truth of this. A snap “NO, I don’t do this!” is the typical reply, accompanied by a dose of emotion, fast talking, and perhaps a counter charge. But it doesn’t change the reality of what “is.”

In our desire to “educate” ourselves, or more accurately, indoctrinate and inculcate beliefs we already gravitate to, we watch videos, read books, and listen to lectures that tend to just harden our delusions.

So when will we make OUR OWN Declaration of Independence?

Only when we realize we are not living our own life.

Even the Bible can reinforce outside learning that is essentially memorized and acted out. ANY source of outside knowledge can trigger this state of mind. And no, that DOESN’T mean I’m saying not to read the Bible (the most amazing and inspired book there is) or study from sources outside ourselves, particularly when learning something of physical value, like a trade.

It just means to keep our eyes open for the recognition of who we have become in our search for confidence.

I had this revelation on New Year’s Day (appropriately!), when I realized I have spent the past FORTY YEARS following one spiritual leader or another. Even when the spiritual leader has good intent (and I believe that one of these leaders did), it’s not THEIR intent that really matters, it is OUR OWN!

One of these leaders I speak of is still alive. He was once a Christian, but re-invented himself as an Internet guru. And if the motive isn’t pure, it all ends up turning into a hustle.

There is something alluring about wanting to be the teacher, and it seems to be a trap almost all of us have fallen into. The student becomes the teacher. In reality, as I’ve said before, there is only ONE teacher, and he is INSIDE US.

All I want to be now is a good example, and I think that’s really the only thing that matters–that makes an impact. I have been a very flawed example–a major hypocrite without even realizing it (amazingly that I couldn’t see it!), and have caused real damage, the same as was done to me (“hurt people hurt people”). All I can do now is live from what I understand today, and in that understanding begin to repair the great damage done.

I hope that this article will at least encourage you to examine yourself, and take an good honest look at who you have become, and likely still are.

Do you seek real freedom? The kind that doesn’t need outside reinforcement? I truly believe it is there, as I have begun to walk it. I have spent FORTY YEARS wandering in the “desert” of seeking gurus to tell me how to live. I spent another twenty-something years (my “formulative” years) wandering in the same desert–knocked off course early by the trauma we all go through in one form or another.

That’s SIXTY-PLUS years of wandering! I think I’ve wandered enough! I believe I’m finally ready to truly seek the PROMISED LAND–I hope you are too.

Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com. He promotes natural health, success, and freedom during chaotic times. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].

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