Since we often teach best what we most need to learn and action relieves anxiety, I searched through my archive of emails and found this reminder of the value of being ‘free.’ So, I offer this article ‘do-over’ from the past which remains relevant and is worth reading again… So, here goes…
Are women free, or are we victims of the needs of others? We always seem to fall into the trap of being in service to others, yet neglecting our own needs? Experiencing what almost feels like a genetic predisposition to over-extending, we are taken over by feelings of guilt when we dare to take time for ourselves. We feel the victim of our circumstances, and yet we are the ones who say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’.
Victor Frankl was held captive in a concentration camp amidst the tragedies of the Holocaust and Nelson Mandela was imprisoned and tortured in South Africa for over a quarter century, yet both felt free. Their experiences bless us with the insight that although you often don’t have control over your circumstances, freedom lies in the ability to choose your thoughts and perceptions about what is.
What exactly is freedom?
1. a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any, or to any undue, restraints, restrictions, or fears
2. The ability to exercise free will and make choices independently of any external determining force
Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Here are a few thoughts to consider:
We sometimes take for granted the freedom we have. To expand and demonstrate our appreciation and understanding of freedom we must first know the unique purpose for our own heart, and then be dedicated to following our dreams.
We are blessed to have the freedom to discover our own passions. We must use our freedom to stop being overly concerned about what everyone else thinks. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with you. From this place of inner freedom you will come to know a real sense of outer freedom. Greater happiness comes when we use our freedom to live by our value-based ambitions.
Use the freedom to relax and be still. Nowadays there’s too much pressure put on us to be “perfect.” Perfection is fleeting and mistakes are an opportunity to learn. Creativity emerges from stillness. Use the gift of the freedom you have to center within, relax and dream. Chart your own course and stretch for excellence rather than perfection.
Protect your priorities. Your time is more meaningful when you focus on the “who” rather than the “what.” After all, you are a human BE-ing, not a human DO-ing and what you do will always be less important than who you become. Your courage to be fully who you are will always take you further than your knowledge, even though knowledge is valuable. Put your rear on the line and act with integrity in who you are by having your words and actions match and putting first things first.
Be willing to take a few risks and even bend the rules. People will not always like you so be prepared to disappoint others gracefully rather than compromise your values. Make bold decisions and always allow yourself to give birth to independent thoughts.
Commit to being an excellent and kind communicator, and even more important, practice being a compassionate listener. Freedom is not genuine when we discount another to say what is on our mind, and communicating is far more than waiting for our turn to talk. Develop your ability to stand in the shoes of another to expand your awareness, perceptions, and freedom.
Freedom is genuine when we know we can speak authentically and honestly without fear of being judged. This must be a mutual gift. Become aware of your judgments, be open to distilling the truth regardless of the degree of consciousness in the delivery, and learn to deflect and depersonalize any unloving judgments. Do not be afraid to disagree, however it is not what is said, but the intention with which it is said that is important.
Soar. Every day do one small thing that frightens you or takes you outside your comfort zone. It’s easy to be mediocre. Decide to be extraordinary, even if in simple ways. Confident people rarely settle for less! Courage does not mean waiting until you are fearless, but rather acting in spite of your fears. Remember, “Fear knocked. Faith answered. No one was home.” Old English Proverb.
Surround yourself with positive people – those who invite and lovingly demand that you reach beyond your fear rather than play it safe. There will always be those telling you why an idea won’t work. To access your freedom fully, remember that someone else’s past doesn’t equal your future. Learn to trust those who hold you accountable to be your highest and best.
Keep your body sacred. Balance your wheel of life, body, mind, spirit and soul. It is the only vehicle you have to carry you on this journey called Life. We teach others whether or not to honor us by how we love and respect our self.
Exercise your freedom to love. Stay connected. There is value in staying connected to technology, email, instant messaging, and all forms of technology, but don’t let it overwhelm you or become a replacement for human connection. Remember that no form of technology can ever replace your connection with those you love. Never forget that it is the ones we love and those who love us that matters most and creates the connections that will be enduring and supportive throughout your life.
When we were born we were given an amazing gift – the gift of freedom. We are free to step into our magnificence, and will benefit from this gift if we are willing and wise. We are given the opportunity to use this power to design our own unique life. Many never experience such a blessing. It is not always another who keeps us from our freedom. Too often the only one who keeps us from being fully free is our self.
So… when your sense of freedom is challenges and seems like an illusion, whether because of health
With me, (re) declare your Independence today!