“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
-The Declaration of Independence (July 4th 1776)
This document was written 231 years ago and has withstood the test of time, despite many different views and interpretations. I cite the Declaration today for two reasons; 1) because this document just had an anniversary, and 2) because I don’t think that people understand just how meaningful this particular passage is towards living.
Specifically I am talking about our unalienable rights. Life is granted to us by whatever creator we believe gave us that life, you get to decide who that creator is, which is not the point. The point is that we all start out with life. Some of us have a silver spoon fed to us and others have to eat off the floor, it is not fair but it is reality. The beautiful thing about life is that is doesn’t matter how you start off, it’s about what you do before you end. Now, I am not naïve and know that some have a better chance to succeed than others just by how they start, but when we shed our beginnings, which at some point we all will have to do, we can then get on with our life. By doing this we are declaring our own independence from whatever has prevented us from becoming our “self-evident truth”.
We are allowed to do this through the liberties we have. These liberties are not boundless, but they are vast. The point is that we have been granted the liberty to seek whatever it is we decide to our lives to be. We have the liberty to shape and mold our lives into what we would like them to become, to follow our passions and dreams, and to change when we want to make changes.
Life and liberty are given to us and we have to do nothing to earn them. This I believe everyone understands. What I question is that everyone also thinks that we are given happiness, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Our unalienable right is to pursue happiness, not happiness itself. There are many times when life is not happy and when we are not happy. Some of us cave into these situations and are not happy people, therefore blaming others for our anger and misery, when the reality is that we expected something that we gave up pursuing. The minute we give up our pursuit is the exact moment we give up our independence because we are now a puppet being pulled by the strings in whatever direction outside forces decide to pull us in. We all know when we are not happy, but many times we expect others to provide us our happiness much like we were provided life and liberty. To truly achieve self-actualization we first must understand that happiness is something that we need to first seek out on our own in order for it to happen. This is in it’s purist form the pursuit. Recognize your passion, pursue that passion, and then reap the happiness that is sure to follow.
In order to fully take advantage of the unalienable rights we were granted from birth, we must take control of our life by using the liberties we have, in pursuit of the happiness we all deserve.