- The opinions of others don’t define you
- You don’t seek external validation
- The love in your heart is less defined by circumstances and more by choice
- You love yourself without judgment
- You can give without needing or expecting a return
- You allow yourself to feel openly
- You’ve “released” the past
- You have healthy boundaries
- You’re not codependent
- Outside of you does not define how you feel within
- Feeling is not impossible
Beyond all of this, true freedom is accepting what is so that we may move into wholeness. With the level of uncertainty and volatility, the world has experienced this last year – political, global health pandemics, economic issues, and redefining how we relate to each other, it is safe to say that genuine acceptance of how things are is necessary in order to elicit meaningful change. This doesn’t mean we get stuck in apathy or resignation – it does mean we own our choices, step into deeper sovereignty and define with clarity how we wish to see the world, treat others, and also be treated. It means we accept what is out of our control so that we can focus on what is – taking steed of our own nutrition, fitness, beliefs, social circles, how we choose to react to difficulty, dealing with our fears, and more. We need acceptance in order to move beyond the constraints of the past.
I’ll give you an example of what freedom has felt like for me of late. For years, if someone disagreed with me, defied me, or even didn’t like me I would become extremely defensive… Heck, it still occasionally happens. I couldn’t accept the perspectives of another. I would feel so threatened (oh the fragility of the ego)…
I was shackled to my anger, ego, and feeling of insecurity that I would feel I would need to attack. I was a slave to my emotions. This is not freedom. I had little autonomy and even less self-mastery. I used anger as a means to gain control and power over others because I felt so broken and fragile within.
Freedom in our current society is being questioned intently. Victor Frankl in Man’s Search For Meaning stated that no matter what was happening outside of him no one could take away his internal frame of relating. No one could seize his mind. That was his and for this, he felt free, albeit being in a concentration camp subjugated to atrocities.
Freedom is a slippery slope when we place our power and meaning of freedom in the hands of others. In a relationship, freedom means not being defined purely by others but rather more by the expression of your truth. Embodying your needs and giving that to the world with compassion.
I’m the past I was afraid to give to others and be seen fully because there was a fear of judgment, ridicule, or rejection. Freedom is the absence of these fears and the forward movement choosing expansiveness over restriction irrespective of the daunting fear that lurks.
When I made the choice to open my heart, I ceased to look for freedom outside of me. I ceased asking for permission and stopped thinking freedom was so much an “outside” thing defined by what was happening in my environment. I practice as often as I can just be the witness without judgment.
This doesn’t mean I am apathetic, passive, or resigned. On the contrary, I am active but not reactive. At least that is my intentional practice. I don’t always get it right, however, I am present to progress. What does freedom mean to you?
One is glad to be of service.