People require freedom to be happy, however the majority of us don't really understand the concept of freedom. Neither do we realise that in most of our lives, we are not actually free. But what if we embraced the concept that freedom is a state of mind - it is not events and circumstances that are limiting us, but instead our own perception of them?
“The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret to freedom is courage.”
Humans require freedom if they are to be happy.
But the majority of people have no understanding of what freedom is or that they are not actually free.
Their freedom is curtailed in many ways for arbitrary, often politically motivated reasons and even worse they imprison themselves with false beliefs.
There are two main ways our freedom is restricted:
With Power-Over, you could hurt someone physically or emotionally to force them to do what you want. This is how the government and police control you and restrict your physical freedom.
Power-Within has to do with self-esteem, self-worth, and acceptance. In other words, anything that originates from your own thoughts and beliefs.
Coercive relationships start early in life with parents exercising authority over children and then teachers and it lasts a lifetime in the form of government, the tax bodies, the police and other institutions.
At least until Covid, a lot of people thought they could generally live as they pleased, as long as they paid their taxes and followed what laws the government of the time made (supposedly) to provide a safe society for the benefit of all.
But we’ve never really been free to do what we want.
So am I advocating taking to the streets and protesting?
I believe that is a pointless waste of time in most cases. Instead, I believe that ‘freedom is an inside job’ and you can be free regardless of how unfree the environment you live in may be.
Freedom Is An Inside Job
The idea that true freedom is an “inside job” means that our sense of freedom isn’t just based on events or situations outside of us, but on how we perceive them and feel about them.
This means that even when we can’t change things outside of ourselves, we can still feel free if we focus on the things we can change, like our thoughts and feelings, and if we develop a sense of internal empowerment and self-determination.
From this point of view, true freedom isn’t just the lack of restrictions from the outside.
Instead, it’s a way of being where a person feels free to act and think in line with their values and goals, no matter what’s going on around them.
In other words, real freedom is an inner feeling that comes from a sense of psychological freedom and independence.
Freedom really means being able to choose our own actions and do what we want.
But, in the world we live in now, we often don’t act the way we want to because we fear there will be adverse consequences if we do.
People say that society reinforces “norms” that make it hard to think about your own needs, interests, and desires or act on them.
People instead choose to “fit in” or even sacrifice themselves by putting the needs of a group or community before their own.
Most of this is self-imposed, since many of us live in worlds where we lock ourselves up in our own prisons of self-limiting beliefs.
And we tend to blame outside things and other people for how we feel and act, like our partner, parents, boss, government, or the person who cut us off on the way to work.
We tell everyone around us what we want them to change, how they should do this or that to fit in with how we think the world should be.
And we think that if they did these things, it would make us happy.
“If only my wife would stop spending money…”
“The government should stop immigrants taking our jobs.”
“If only my boss would give me a promotion”
But who are we to say what other people should do?
No one put us in control.
We only have power over what we personally think and do.
And if we think that our happiness depends on other people doing what we think they should, we will stay trapped in our own prison of frustration and unhappiness.
We can in fact choose how we respond to any situation… Whatever it is that someone else says or does, we do not have to react and let it make us angry or upset.
Victor Frankl wrote in his famous book “Man’s Search for Meaning” that you always have a choice about how to deal with even the worst situations, and that this choice can give your life meaning and purpose.
If you don’t know who he was, during World War II, he was locked up in a concentration camp, where guards who considered Jews to be sub-human, held his life in their hands on a daily basis.
It’s astonishing but even in those circumstances, he was able to retain a positive state of mind.
If he can do that in the worst possible situation, it’s clear that we are also able to choose how to deal with problems in our own lives, no matter how bad they are.
What Restrictions Have You Imposed On Yourself?
It’s very simple to concentrate on external problems that place restrictions on your independence and blame them for your lack of freedom and dissatisfaction.
But picture a scenario in which all of those apparent external constraints have magically disappeared.
Then, would you feel truly liberated?
I doubt it.
By conditioning our minds to believe certain ‘perceived truths’, we limit ourselves in a much sneakier way.
The majority of our limiting beliefs, whether it’s “I’m not good enough,” “I’m too old for that,” “I’m not brave enough” or I’m not clever enough — all stem from a fundamental belief that in some way we are ‘not enough’ of something.
- What are you prevented from doing by these limiting beliefs?
- What are you prevented from feeling?
- What are you prevented from expressing?
- What are you prevented from accomplishing?
Before we even consider standing up against the limitations placed on our freedom by the government and others, we must first recognise, accept, and work through these self-imposed limiting ideas that keep us trapped in a prison of our own making.
Want Some Help Or Advice?
Whether you are a lawyer or other professional who would like to quit their job, escape the rat race and live a free-er more enjoyable life, then why not register for a free trial membership of my website The Freedom Code, where you will find a community of like-minded professionals at various stages of planning, transitioning out of their careers and starting their own businesses.
As a member, you will receive education, tips, advice, support, mentorship and accountability.
So come and crack the freedom code and create a life you love