In Search of Personal Freedom
What kind of life or lifestyle will help me feel free?
That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for years. In my pursuit of the answer, I’ve come to understand that freedom for me, is a feeling. Freedom is a subjective perception. What seems like freedom for one person or society, seems like imprisonment or damnation to another.
There are people who live extravagant lifestyles, who don’t feel free. There are people who live in first world countries who don’t feel free. There are people who live in secluded indigenous settings who feel free. There are people who live in third world nations, who feel free.
Freedom, as a value, has been written about by history’s greatest thinkers who’ve influenced the establishments of governments. The ideology of freedom is what has influenced the fight for human and civil rights. However, what does freedom mean to you? How do you come to a place of finding and living in it?
I have learned that learned, at any time, I have the privilege of creating the life I want, in order to feel free. The exchange, is that something in the present, will always have to be taken away or released to give room for something new in the future. Old mindsets, habits, relationships, possessions, and environments must be set aside to usher in new. To live a life of freedom, we must let go of what exists in the state that we consider ourselves to not feel free in.
Even in its most physical form, it would be difficult for a government promoting incarceration or death as a means to rehabilitate and manage a specific group of citizens, and still be one that promotes the idea of freedom and equality for all citizens. Both ways can co-exists, but there is a round about dissonance and conflict that will arise for its citizens.
For me, freedom means safety. Safety to be my authentic self. Safety from danger. Safety from oppression and control. Freedom is also a state of health, both physical and mental. Being in a state of optimal well being so that I can function at an ideal level or even in my greatest capacity. When I am in a depressive episode, I do not feel free. When I am in any state of sickness, I do not feel free.
For me, freedom is a state of mind and a state of being, accompanied by some physical privileges. With me exploring and choosing my own personal definition of freedom, I have been able to take active assessment in my life, to evaluate if my current state is aligned with my own definition. When my current state of being or the current state of my life, does not illicit feelings of freedom within me, I know I have veered from what works for me. Staying on the path of my own road of freedom, allows me to stay grounded in a place of gratitude and peace. It ensures me, that if my life should end at any unexpected moment, it would be a small chance that I would considered looking at my life thru the eyes of regret.
I believe that our journeys in understanding our selves and the world we live in, can always be directed by raising questions. The right questions will lead us to the answers that we need. My question to you is, how do you define freedom? When you feel “stuck,” what is the reference point you use to measure your imprisonment? When your life is not aligned with your own definition of freedom, what steps do you take to re-align?