First Steps to Genuine Freedom
GENUINE FREEDOM. These words make an impression on all of us, doesn’t it? Although it probably means something else for me than it does for you, we all have areas in life where we long to have more freedom and space.
Space and freedom are often related to each other. Take someone’s space away and his freedom will be bound significantly. That’s why people who violate the law end up in prison. After all, they often violated someone else’s freedom and therefore have to pay with their own.
- So, what is freedom exactly?
- Could we ever reach ultimate freedom?
- How much freedom do we need?
- And what can help us to feel freer?
Let’s take a look at some answers.
What is freedom?
According to English Oxford Dictionaries some definitions of freedom are:
- The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.
- The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
- The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
- The state of not being subject to or affected by (something undesirable)
- Familiarity or openness in speech or behavior.
Now in this article, I’m not going to expand on every item mentioned here, but let’s look at some of them.
Longing for more freedom
It’s obvious: Freedom is a very desired topic to think or speak about. Everywhere in the world people like being able to do what they want and live the way they desire.
But we also know that in many circumstances it wouldn’t be wise permitting ourselves too much freedom of action and speech. If we would ignore laws and moral standards we would pay the price afterward, wouldn’t we? Nearly everyone wants more freedom, but often we forget that others have the same desire.
In fact, if your thirst for more freedom makes you push your boundaries too far, it often reduces the boundaries of others. Of course, sometimes that can be necessary; e.g. if someone doesn’t respect your healthy boundaries or even violates them.
But then what is a healthy boundary? You could say that it’s figuratively somewhere in the middle between you and the other person, with mutual respect. I think everyone would like to have that respected space. If we would all behave this way, many problems would be avoided, wouldn’t it? What do you think?
What about ultimate freedom?
Do you sometimes dream of feeling ultimate free by being able to do whatever you want? It could sound attractive, but in the core of our being, we know that that’s impossible because of the consequences.
Let’s say that tomorrow you wake up and decide to do whatever you want from that moment of. You don’t feel like getting up early and going to work. So instead you get up when you feel like it and decide to go to one of your favorite places to enjoy yourself. You’ve also decided to say whatever you want to say to anyone. From now on you’ll go for the freedom of ME-time…
Driving on your way home you want to test the potential of your car and experience that feeling of ultimate freedom. So you ignore all traffic rules and lights to feel the adrenaline and kick. How long would you enjoy your feeling of ultimate freedom AND live? Probably not so long…
So the more freedom the more happiness really is an illusion. Although genuine freedom brings unlimited advantages, in reality, unlimited freedom has another side of its coin. Think for a moment about how the world would look like without any limitation. That really would be one of the fastest ways to chaos, wouldn’t it?
How much freedom do we need then?
In fact, chaos is what we now see in some countries and places in the world where people permit themselves to take all freedom in own hands. So wouldn’t you agree that – to a certain degree – we do need laws and limitations?
Of course, the art of choice lies in finding the right balance between freedoms and limitations. That’s what forms a complex system of rights and obligations to lay the foundation of a well-organized society. But the more complex it becomes, the more difficult to implement. And that’s why it really is an art!
Enjoying limited freedom
Even if you would live in ideal circumstances with a lot of freedom, you would instinctively feel certain boundaries. You’ll have to keep on eating, sleeping and breathing in order to stay healthy and alive. Because if we want to live, we don’t have the freedom not to. Those boundaries are necessary, but do they FEEL like limitations or a burden? Of course they don’t!
Those things can even contribute to our level of satisfaction and happiness. For instance, who wouldn’t enjoy a fresh breath of air in the woods, at the seaside or in the mountains? And wouldn’t you enjoy eating your favorite food with the people you love? Or think about a good night’s rest after a long fulfilling day.
Also, all people have to move between certain boundaries and submit to universal laws. A few examples are gravity, the law of cause and reaction, our need for structure and principles and much more… So freedom is very relative, is it not? In the end, nobody has absolute unlimited freedom.
Genuine freedom leads to happiness
In conclusion, genuine freedom is not the same as ultimate freedom. Ultimate freedom will lead to loss of freedom while true freedom leads to happiness. It does have boundaries by laws and principles.
But at the same time, by taking the rights of other people into account, true freedom allows you to grow and develop yourself in a healthy way. And on top of that… By walking the path of true freedom and happiness, you’ll contribute to the freedom and happiness of others. If these aren’t good causes!
Your next step to feeling freer
I think it’s very clear that the angle from which we view things in combination with our feelings, play a big roll in reaching a sense of freedom. You might say that it’s easier said than done, and you’re right! It requires time and effort.
One of the first shifts we need to make is in our own head. For some that might sound disappointing. But in fact, it’s one of the most powerful tools we have! Think about this: no-one can lock up our freedom of thinking. And if you know that all ideas, plans, changes, and creations start with just what we think about, you might as well take advantage of that free tool!
Now probably by reading this, you had some ideas coming up in your mind. Even if they’re vague, try to grab them and look at them more closely. Then see what’s healthy and useful and start working with the idea to give it more form.
Write down in the box below your first next step to creating more freedom in your life. By doing this you’ll give it more form and it will motivate you and others to take that next step.
Do some research and keep feeding your ideas. That will expand your view and give a new perspective. What first was a vague hidden wish, now becomes more and more a reachable reality…
I wish you success on your way to more genuine freedom!
- Look at your ideas closely
- Give them more form
- Write them down
- Do some research
- Feed your ideas