The 4th Of July is a holiday that for me has a deeper meaning beyond the nationalistic one of the freedom to become our own nation. At a personal level the freedom to become who we are is a wonderful gift. Too often we allow inner barriers and outer challenges to hold back our freedom. Real freedom begins inside.
Here are some barriers and challenges that are worth a look at to see if they need to be removed to open you to a richer experience of freedom:
- Do you set unrealistic expectations for yourself and those in your life? Unrealistic expectations are traps that confine you and others and stop the flow in the present. Expectations are about wanting control over things and people, which is totally unrealistic. Example: You expect your partner to guess what you are feeling and than act appropriately. That is a set up for disappointment and reduces personal and relationship freedom.
- Are you run by the beliefs and ideas of others? Past conditioning plays such a huge part in how we see the world. The messages of how you should live and view the world start as an infant and never stop. These messages are often inaccurate and untrue but you live by them. Example: I went to 12 years of Catholic Schools and learned that I am not ok, don’t deserve and have bad thoughts. None of this is true but I have had to spend many years redoing this programming.
- Do you have lots of self-doubt or do you fully believe in yourself? Our society, families, schools, etc. teach us self-doubt from early on and that programming can be difficult to offset. Self-doubt says that you don’t deserve the freedom you want. This is not true. Example: You have a job that you don’t like and have been there way too long but you doubt you can have a better life. This is your self-doubt keeping you from creating the life you want.
- Are you too concerned about the approval of others? It seems this is chronic programming in most of us. What others think of you doesn’t matter as far as living a good life. If you are a good person who does your best then the opinion of others is just in their minds and has no need to affect you. Freedom is walking into a room and not needing everyone to approval of you because you approval of yourself. Example: You don’t go places because you don’t think you look ok, or have the right body. This holding yourself back because of the need to others approval is not necessary.
- Are you stuck in the past or trying too hard to get to the future? There is no freedom in living in the past and no freedom in living in the future because neither is ever possible. There is only the now. If you are not comfortable in the now then you must change your now by changing your thoughts. The now is rich with opportunities for joy, love, connection, consciousness, compassion, success and freedom. Example: Someday you think you will have enough money to feel ok. That seeking stops you from appreciating what you have now.
- Do you blame others and circumstance for things not being ok in your life? Blame creates only more things to blame. The opposite is taking charge of your life and realizing you are the creator of your own experience. This realizations will bring great freedom. Example: I get caught up in blaming our elected officials because it seems we are in a mess. This is a traditional blaming that is difficult to move past. The government is a reflection of us and if it is a mess you and I need to find ways to affect positive changes. Freedom comes from the awareness that we can make a difference.
If you take the time to look at these barriers to freedom you can see that they are all about our thoughts. Mindfulness is a powerful practice to set your thoughts in the direction of personal freedom.