Personal freedom. This topic has been on humanity’s mind since biblical days—if not before.
During the COVID pandemic, you couldn’t get away from news stories on the topic. Even now, personal freedom remains top of mind for people worldwide, as witnessed by the recent riots in Israel protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contentious judicial overhaul, the prolonged war between Russia and Ukraine, and children being forced to lock up their cell phones while in school.
Yet, many more of us struggle with what seems like a loss of freedom in our personal lives. Sometimes, we aren’t even aware that we lack personal freedom.
What does a lack of personal freedom in your private life look like? Here are a few examples:
- You don’t believe you are free to be yourself, do what you desire, or voice your opinions, beliefs, values, or points of view without negative ramifications.
- You feel imprisoned by your thoughts, habits, health, or finances.
- You feel “stuck” in a relationship or job or with debt or an overweight body—or in any other life arena.
Do you see yourself in these examples?
I Chose to Do Me
Believe me… I have not been without personal freedom issues but learned to exercise my inherent personal freedom.
You have inherent personal freedom, too…even if you don’t believe you do now. In fact, we all do, and many of us need to learn to access and exercise it and, as a result, improve our lives.
When I began exercising my personal power to a greater extent, my life changed. Actually, I changed, and that caused my life to change.
Knowing I had freedom allowed me to make new choices. The first was to stop living my life according to what I thought other people expected of me. I refused to do what I had been told I “should” do. And I decided not to be someone or do things to be accepted or loved.
I decided to be myself…to “do me—even if that caused others to react with anger, criticism, or judgment.
And OMG…that felt so freeing!
It still does—as long as I remain conscious of the times I start to hold back and become concerned with outside input and reactions to who I am being and what I am doing. When that happens, I must remind myself that I can choose how to show up and what to do with my life. After all, it is my life.
Exercising Personal Freedom Requires Awareness
Exercising your inherent personal freedom takes a new level of awareness. Developing that consciousness is a process. It takes some time and effort, just like developing any new habit.
But you can develop the awareness and use your personal freedom to liberate yourself. I’ve taught many people how to do so—including myself.
I’m excited about the next series of coaching sessions I’m offering in the Inspired Creator Community because they focus on personal freedom. That means I can support more people as they liberate themself to be who they choose to be, act in ways that feel congruent, and create what they desire.
Last time the Inspired Creator Community members focused on creating an internal state of personal freedom, I said I couldn’t think of a better time to tackle this topic. But that was in 2020—two years ago—after George Floyd’s death and when masks were required. People were up at arms about personal freedom…BIG time.
Now, I’d say the same thing—I can’t think of a better time to tackle this topic—but for different reasons. I meet so many people who feel personally jailed in one way or another. They don’t have a sense of internal personal freedom.
You probably can relate if you saw yourself in the abovementioned examples.
Have You Jailed Yourself?
Maybe you feel you can’t find the key to release yourself from jail. But hopefully, you now realize you hold the key to unlock your cell.
You can open the door and liberate yourself when you realize the key is in your hand. That’s the first step to accessing your inherent personal freedom: know you have personal freedom and give yourself permission to access and use it.
But let me reiterate: exercising your personal freedom is a process of becoming conscious of when you restrain yourself.
For example, this week, I had to remind myself that I can choose when I get to my desk in the morning.
I became aware that I felt pressured to get to work early and kept feeling as if I was late to work. I felt that pressure because I wanted to avoid my husband’s disapproval and, subsequently, my feeling that it isn’t okay to start work later than he does.
But here’s the kicker: he wasn’t even at home to know what I was doing or not doing. That’s cray cray, right?
In that moment of awareness, I gave myself permission to exercise my personal freedom. Just because my husband gets to his desk early and stays there until late doesn’t mean I have to follow suit. Whether he works in his home office or at the corporate offices on a particular day doesn’t need to influence my behavior. Plus, how he feels about when I begin work shouldn’t impact my choices—about work start times or anything else.
Did you hear the lock click open as I turned the key to my self-imposed jail cell? I sure did.
How to Break Free
You probably realize it’s time to challenge your beliefs and behaviors. You have the opportunity at this moment to move past your fear, go after your goals, stand in your personal power, and create life on your terms. Right now, you can be who you really are—show up authentically—and create a soul-aligned life—not one based on what others expect of you or think you should do.
So, do a check-in: Are you living your life’s agenda—or someone else’s agenda for you?
I can tell you that living someone else’s agenda is not fun. Actually, it’s exhausting, and it’s constraining.
If you are ready to break free, the following three-step process can help you exercise your inherent personal freedom in any situation. By answering the questions below, you increase your awareness of when you exercise personal freedom and when you do not.
1. Ask yourself WHY you are doing what you are doing or making the choices you are making.
Consider if you are being or doing things for yourself or for someone else? Are you acting congruently with who you really are, want to be, or with someone others expect you to be? Are you showing up in a certain way because that is how you want to show up or because doing so ensures you are loved, accepted, and approved of, or even because someone expects you to do so?
2. What would you do, say, or choose if you weren’t worried about what anyone thought, expected, or believed you should do? How would you show up if you were being congruent with your true self?
Imagine you can wave a magic wand and have 100 percent freedom to be, do, and have what you desire. Spend some time visualizing this or writing a detailed description.
3. Now, choose who to be, what to do, and what to create.
Right now, set yourself free. Give yourself permission to make a choice…to decide how to show up congruently. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to create?
This process increases your internal sense of personal freedom. Then, you can use that inherent state to make new choices.
Your Thoughts and Habits Jail You
Keep in mind that thoughts and behaviors also jail you. That’s why it’s essential to become aware of your mindsets and habits.
For example, when you become conscious of a thought you are thinking or a belief upon which you base your actions, question them. Ask yourself, “Is that thought or belief mine…or someone else’s? Do I want to think that…or even believe it is true?”
Let it go if it’s not your thought or you don’t believe it! Choose one of your own.
The same goes for your habits. As you become conscious of habitual behaviors (which includes thinking), ask, “Is this mine? Did someone tell me I should do this or expect me to behave this way?” Again…if it’s not yours, choose something that is.
You are Free to Choose
You already know you’ve waited too long to fearlessly declare: “This is me! And this is my life!” You’ve waited too long to be your authentic self and live on your terms.
And all that waiting has caused you to suffer, has it not? I can attest that living as a partial version of myself—as someone I was expected to be and in a way that felt safe and accepted—was not living. In fact, it was a waste of my life.
You have the freedom to change your thoughts and beliefs. And you are free to decide what behaviors serve you and feel congruent.
The only one stopping you from having all the personal freedom you want and deserve is you. But now you realize you hold the key that can liberate you. Use it. Set yourself free.
Do you exercise your inherent personal freedom? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend or on social media.
If you would like to take your internal state of personal freedom to a higher level, become a member of the Inspired Creator Community. Members begin a six-month coaching focus on personal freedom starting 9/11/23. Learn more and join! Join by August 30, and save $100 off your monthly investment by using this coupon code—ICCAUG23—at checkout. Or pay for the entire six months and save an additional $133. (This early-bird coupon expires at midnight on August 30.)
If you are not sure you need more personal freedom or that the Inspired Creator Community is right for you, register for my free masterclass on 9/29—“Free to Live a Life that Feeds Your Soul.” You’ll have more clarity afterward, and I can answer any questions you have.
Photo courtesy of Yurii Seleznyov.