Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO/Flex your independence muscles

Marjorie Spitz Rento1 Comment

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and America will celebrate its 242th year since the 13 colonies declared independence from King George III and Britain.

We’ve patched things up since then. Sometimes, you need to exert your independence even if it’s difficult and painful and may create a short rift. Be true to yourself and do it!

Independence has played a large role in my life. What role does it play in yours?

A good balance of relationship, social and financial independence builds confidence and allows for strong relationships and a nice injection of self-sufficiency.

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Even today, independent women can be labeled “bossy” or “bitchy,” whereas a man will be complimented for establishing his “leadership abilities.” Sheryl Sandberg called for a ban of the word “bossy” and points out how a little girl exerting authority on the playground is called “bossy” while a little boy “a good leader.” This can impact girls for years!

As a late teen my mother encouraged me to be an independent woman, which I proudly am, maybe even to an extreme at times. I’ve mostly been an independent contractor since 1996(!), waited to get married until in my mid 40’s and was too busy traveling to far-away places, spending quality time with girlfriends and trying to save lives through my work in non-profit to make time for having children.

My husband actually proposed to me on Independence Day saying he chose the symbolic date to remind us that our marriage will unite us as a couple, and our simultaneous commitment to give each other space to maintain our individuality (the reason we fell in love in the first place). He knew this NYC girl wasn’t about to transform to a typical 1950’s housewife (although my roast chicken can rival anyone’s!).  And I certainly intended to support him in the things he loves to do like spend quality time with his boys and (of course) ski.

It’s important to understand the difference between being independent and accepting help when needed. Trying to do everything yourself when you need support is nothing short of self-sabotage. Take a moment to reflect on moments when you’ve stubbornly and heavily addressed an issue on your own and note how it may have been resolved had you let a friend, colleague or family member in. Layer that with how good it may have made him/her feel to be there for you, and internalize that. Had you gone that road, perhaps you would have been open to more options and even felt lighter. Interesting right?

Being independent is also different than being alone – you can be surrounded by people and still be independent. Heck you can be surrounded by people and be lonely, but that’s a different topic.

I bring all this up on the eve of Independence Day to encourage you to consider your level of social and financial independence or lack thereof as you watch the fireworks display. Do you rely too much on how people think about or perceive you? Are you making spending decisions that compliment your long term goals? Do you make your own rules, or are you hindered by ones that others assert upon you?

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How can you establish your independence this Independence Day?

As for me, I am happy with my choices and who I am as a result of my independent nature. Bob and I will celebrate this by spending time together, not by being co-dependent but by co-existing on a fun day off in our own independent-kind-of-way.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy independence, regardless of what you celebrate on the 4th.

Independently yours,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™

Our next Montauk Retreat is September 14-16. Special pricing is available until August 1. Contact me for details.