Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It means different things to different people. Here's what it means to me.
By Matt Classen
On the 4th of July, the formal Independence Day of these lovely United States of America, we get to celebrate fireworks, bbq's, friends, patriotism, fireworks and a whole host of other things that give us, as Americans, as sense of identity. All beautiful things, right?
So, while Arrow Northwest is a marketing, creative and digital agency, I want to take the time today to tell our audience what the term "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness", the immortal words placed in our Declaration of Independence, means to me.
Everyone, and that means everyone, has the right to feel love. In our everyday lives, we get so caught up in our pursuits, news (which is intentionally quite divisive now-a-days), social media etc, that we forget that each of us deserves love. While we hold this truth to be self evident, many of us do not really feel this deep inside. Everyday through our media, we're told we're not pretty enough, slim enough, vibrant enough or even good enough. Everyday we're presented with images of insanely happy people leading the most idyllic life possible. When we see this on our social media channels or beauty magazines, we feel inadequate. This inadequacy leads to sense-of-self-worth issues, which can easily lead to depression.
Yes, as a marketing, creative and digital services agency, it is our responsibility to present strategy, imagery and distribution of communication that presents an ideal for our clients. We own this, as everyone needs to choose a profession that they enjoy. That said, we enjoy presenting communications that feel good on multiple levels and that deeply nourish the human condition. All this said, we want to make sure that we always endeavor the make people feel a sense of love. Living without love is no life at all. We need to support each other in our right to feel love, even if we feel that we don't deserve it if there is that sense of inadequacy.
If you could take one thing from this article, it's this: Try to show one person a day, through words or actions, whether you know them or not, that they are loved and that they deserve that feeling to the depths of their soul.
"Freedom" (aka "Liberty"). It's a much used key word that we associate with our sense of selves as Americans in the USA. Ongoing narratives in our media present that the USA is the only purveyor and holder of "freedom", that we are the most free country in the world. While we definitely enjoy many freedoms, for which we can be totally grateful, "freedom" means a great many things. We should always strive to be more free. Let me communicate what we feel Freedom means to me in human rights terms. Everyone has the right to freedom for the following, as a human right:
- Freedom of Self-expression. This is in all its forms, yet comes with a simple caveat: That your self-expression needs to be peaceful, and that your self-expression does not demean the right of others to self-express peacefully and with dignity, even if this means that their form of peaceful self-expression challenges you and makes you feel uncomfortable. Whoever you are, take solace that you feelings of being uncomfortable indicate that the evolution of our species is occurring properly. Growth does not occur when no one is challenged.
- Freedom from Worry (about the things that really matter). This means that no one should have to worry how one or one's family will have access to food, if they will have access to health care or if they will be able to have every opportunities to advance in this great nation. These are human rights, but all too many people in this country do not enjoy these rights and suffer a profound and horrible sense of worry that truly deeply impacts their quality of life. These are not things that one only gets if they have the money to pay for it. This is an evolutionary issue and needs to be treated and thought of as such.
- Freedom to Love, Fiercely. Love is love. It is said that there are only two elemental energies that drive our ultimate actions and decision-making in life: Love and Fear. Think about this. When you are making decisions based on fear, how do you feel? What are the ultimate results of fear-based decision-making? Now, compare how you feel when you make decisions and live your life when it's coming from a place of love? In our everyday society, we often forget to love fiercely, and that we have the freedom to do so. Who, how or what we love is too often scrutinized because it may not be the norm. When this happens, we question being able to love how we want to love. When that happens, love in this world is diminished in very real ways at the exact time that we, as humans, need it most. Never forget that you have the freedom to love, fiercely. Do so. Use that right unabashedly and vocally. The more we do so, the more we get to tap into that elemental energy from which life itself is derived.
The Pursuit of Happiness (within reason)
The pursuit of happiness is quite simply a part of the human condition. The one thing that ties each of us together, regardless of your upbringing, cultural background, race, religion whatever, is this: We all strive to be as happy as possible. We all want to be even happier. This is what drives our pursuits, dreams and ambitions in life. We have a right to this.
Where it becomes tricky is when your pursuit of your own happiness negatively impacts others. For example, if happiness to me means being financially rich, and I engage in a business pursuit that causes suffering of others for my personal profit, then I need to consider another pursuit of financial happiness. Since marketing and creative and digital services are business related and drive wealth creation, we want to make clear that our values as a company align only with other organizations who 'get' this. We all have the right to the pursuit of happiness, but only if my happiness does not come at the expense of yours.
So there we go. The above thoughts are what crossed my mind as I woke up to celebrate another beautiful 4th of July here in these beautiful and amazing United States of America. I of course welcome any comments or points of view, as the expression of such is another fundamental right.
Happy 4th of July!