Personal freedom is very subjective. It can mean a large spectrum of things. True personal freedom is to live as your truest self while enjoying what we do without any stress involved. Sadly, freedom is a fantasy; we get so busy with our lives and the obligations that come along with it, that we start to redefine what it means for us.
Freedom in today’s day and age can mean a lot of things. While many strive to become financially independent, there are only a handful of people who pursue other routes to be truly free from their situation.
In order to be free, we have to realize what is stopping us from being our truest selves. Humans today are more connected than ever before through social media. Social media, being the controversial platform that it is, has played a major part in restraining people from being their authentic selves, while simultaneously making them cater to a societal lens.
Social media is only one such example, many times it is parental pressure or pressure from your community and peers. Deception, fear, insecurity, and biases are huge contributors that prevent us from being free. The Greek philosopher Epictetus famous freedom sayings is:
“Who wishes to live in deception—tripped up, mistaken, undisciplined, complaining, in a rut? No one. These are base people who don’t live as they wish; and so, no base person is free.”
Life is indeed complicated and there isn’t enough time to pursue everything, but there is still a large possibility that one can be free. Here are a few tips on living in freedom every day.
1. Evaluate Yourself
The first step to being free is to know who you really are. This seems like an easy exercise at the start, but it can get very difficult sometimes. We are what we have been conditioned to be by our parents, community, and society. As kids, we do not know any better and adhere to these constructs and norms without questioning them.
Once we learn about the world, we have a better sense of what is right and wrong. Hence, we develop a deeper sense of self when we recognize things we like and do not like adults.
Evaluating yourself can help you understand your self-worth. Self-worth is one of the biggest factors for living in freedom every day. Loving yourself increases your confidence levels and self-worth. It gives you a better framework of your identity, which can be used to cultivate better and more freeing skills.
2. Stop Lying
“The truth will set you free, but it will piss you off first”. This is a popular quotation by the wise Joe Klass. Truth is always liberating and enlightening. To accept one’s truth is to be free. We grow up learning to lie to ourselves, only to cater to a deep-rooted primal defense mindset.
After all, it is easier to run away from our problems rather than facing them. Lying can be banal but can also take on a much more chronic shape overtime. This disconnects us from reality and sets us on a path of biased delusion and suffering.
You must first learn to speak your truth. Be kind and nurturing to yourself when you have to lift the curtain and face reality. It can be a painstaking task, but at the end of the day, you will be free.
3. Make a List
Making a list might seem little over the top when it comes to being free. However, it all depends on what kind of freedom you prefer and how well planned your list is. Make a list of all the things that make you happy. The list can contain any activity like hiking, painting, swimming or simply sitting at home and watching a movie.
Make another list, but this time, in the form of action steps that persuade you to achieve a level of independence and freedom. For instance, financial independence is one of the biggest freedoms we look forward to.
Take a look at these lists once every two days. This will motivate you to work towards these goals and enjoy them at the same time.
4. Get Disciplined
Discipline is the backbone of freedom. This may sound a little incoherent but stay with me on this one. Discipline is the development of behavior that is much more systematic and healthy. It is true that to break out of the daily routine is to be free, but many people do not tell you that before you can be free, you have to master the discipline.
Let us take an example of consumerism. Fast food restaurants are known to make delicious food that always leaves us wanting more. Sadly, fast food is one of the most common reasons for diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Fast food restaurants do not care what they are giving their customers (when it comes to their health). Today, any fast food burger has 4 times more fat than it did a decade ago. This is to get more customers hooked onto their food.
A disciplined life can teach you to be in control and not get trapped by questionable methods of consumerism like fast food. In a way, you are free from the threat of eating unhealthily, thus you are free from suffering from health issues. After all, one of M. Scott Peck’s freedom saying is: “Discipline is wisdom, and vice versa”.
5. Learn to Say No
This might be one of the hardest tasks on this list. Saying no is a very essential part to be free. We often say yes and agree to things we would not usually agree with only because a part of us wants to be accepted and not left out. Though there can be many reasons to always say yes, the most common is a lack of confidence and the need for acceptance.
You have to realize that your needs and comfort are also important, and saying no to things you do not enjoy and are not comfortable with is empowering. This may seem like you are an outcast, but it is also looked upon with envy.
When you learn to say no, you are learning to say yes to yourself. Hence, you are increasing your self-worth and confidence levels, and cultivating a better mindset for freedom.
The path to freedom can be a rollercoaster ride. You will stumble upon things you didn’t even know about yourself, finding a better perspective on life. The only step you need to top off the aforementioned methods is to take the right action at the right time.
Action is like a muscle, it has to be developed and trained. At the end of the day, why should we not thrive to achieve a life of freedom?