In January 2020, I announced my own personal Independence Day with the following two words:  “ I quit.”   That powerful two-worded declaration has been the fuel to the fire that is burning through years and layers of pain and is clearing the path back to myself.  In this journey, I have had two choices: to betray myself or to fight for myself.  I have committed to fighting for myself, every day. In doing so, I have found a beautiful soul with much to offer the world and worthy of fierce advocacy.

Here is what I quit and how quitting these things has brought me closer to a truer version of myself: 

  1. I quit being a chameleon, trying to blend and fit into situations that do not feel true to me.

Somewhere along the way in life, I lost my unique voice. Out of a desire to love and honor others, for decades, I betrayed my own desires and preferences for the benefit of others.  Not unique to my own experience, many of us mistakenly turn sacrificial love into self-sabotage.  Too many years of constantly deferring to others can leave us not even knowing who we are. 


We all have much more to offer this world if we remain true to who we are instead of trying to fit into whatever mold our environment attempts to demand from us. In the end, the more true I am to myself, the more authentic I will be with others, and the more effective my influence will be in all areas of my life.  Knowledge of ourselves prevents us from being the “chameleon” in the room while empowering us to better love those around us. 


  1. I quit managing how others perceive me. 


The “re-birthing” process that followed my declaration brought up fears in my heart about how others would perceive the new fully authentic, yet infantile, me.


I know without a doubt, that on my continued journey back to myself,  I will be wrongly judged,  misunderstood, and questioned.  As an empath, with a long history of people-pleasing, these fears could easily stamp the word “void” on that declaration, if I let them.  The temptation to explain and defend myself remains great, but no good will come from that.  I simply need to do the healing work while remembering that I am only responsible for my own thoughts and actions.  I am not responsible for how others choose to perceive me. My declaration to “quit” freed me to do the hard work of healing even if “they” don’t understand.


  1. I quit believing the lies that tell me I am not “enough.”


“I feel like such a failure for not being strong enough, wise enough, patient enough, kind enough, smart enough, ….”. The negative self-talk went on and on in my journal one day.


All those emotions and thoughts were totally valid in the context of my life situation at the time.  I was, and am still, standing at the very bottom of a dark pit with unscalable walls surrounding me.  The situation feels impossible and hopeless. 


But the truth is, that I AM enough and I am “doing” enough to scale the walls that have been given to me. These walls, made of glass, are reflecting back the true “me” that has been hidden behind a strong and brave face practiced in masking years of pain and sorrow.  I can use these walls to defeat me and trap me or I can use them as a tool to shatter years of denial and self-betrayal and to usher me into a new, authentic, compassionate, and empowered version of myself. As I do so,  a path forward will be paved and the walls in my life will come crashing down.


My Independence Day was the day “I quit”.  Quitting never felt so good.  I have found that when I walk in the fullness of my own authentic self, I walk into the empowered version of myself. 

What about you?  What is in your Personal Declaration of Independence?  What are you quitting? 


Catherine Aday is a musician, writer, creative, and mother of six who encourages others to live their authentic lives by telling her own story while promoting Fair Trade ethics as a Partner with Trades of Hope.  You can find her writing and the rest of her declaration on Instagram @creatinghopewithcatherine  

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