WHY IS FREEDOM UNCOMFORTABLE?
Freedom is an inner feeling. It is the ability to choose what you want. It is the knowledge that you are the captain of your ship. Freedom is knowing that you own your own life, that you are in charge. Freedom is essential for Joy, for anywhere you feel trapped or feel someone has taken away your rights, you cannot experience Joy.
— Orin – Sanaya Roman
Why does freedom mean so much to us?
When negative energy is in the air we get itchy and ache for freedom. The quest to be free (and stay free) is our life practice. What does this mean in today’s world?
A single man in his early 30s, Luis struggles with depression and anxiety. Although the idea of being in a relationship sounds wonderful, he doubts he is worthy of long-term love. Luis awakens every day with his habitual mind charging down the same worn-out mental path.
“What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone want me? If someone would get to know me they would see I’m a good person. I notice that a lack of human contact affects my energy levels. I lose enthusiasm towards others and negatively perceive myself.”
We assume it’s easy to see that Luis sees himself as broken, unwanted and lacking confidence. However, the largest missing piece in this story is Luis’ belief that he lacks freedom. He yearns to be free of the messy version of himself which is complex, complicated and dramatic.
If we struggle with a lack of love like Luis, it feels as if we are relentlessly sitting at the bottom of the barrel. We ache for truth. Why are we in this position? It’s because we choose to anchor our minds in mud, our hearts in the sand and our emotions in water. These elements keep us stuck and our feelings are all over the place.
This is suffering, not freedom. Yet we are habituated to sitting in the same barrel bottom and reciting the same tired messages. We fear freedom’s call to release the binding tethers to our “loser” selves, despite the rich rewards which await our courage to act on behalf of our higher selves.
Is freedom uncomfortable?
Luis’ answers to these questions offer us insight into a mind’s lack of freedom.
Who takes away my power?
My relationship with my mother drains my power. I didn’t get much attention as a kid. Obtaining her love means staying out of her hair. She rarely praises me and I’m unsure if I matter to her. She’s had multiple marriages and chooses abuse over living alone.
I feel confused about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Alcohol keeps me company and is my escape hatch from isolation’s pain.
What holds me back from pursuing a relationship?
Fear keeps me from dating. What if I get rejected? Do something wrong? Say something hurtful?
Where does lack of freedom show up in my life?
Lack of freedom perpetuates my negative self-limiting beliefs. My self-focus cheats me from the time to offer love to someone else. I scatter my thoughts and feelings attempting to deal with the pain of being alone.
Why do I choose struggle over freedom?
I struggle a lot because it’s all I know. It’s less scary than trying something else. I mentally fling myself into the future, addicted to worrying about being alone. I sometimes plunge into fantasy about finding love and living happily ever after.
When will I decide to commit to Peace, Love and Joy (source of true freedom)?
Who knows if I’m ready to live in Peace, Love and Joy right now? I just want to be in love and have someone love me back.
Choosing Freedom First
Luis reaches a breaking point when two of his friends marry within a span of mere weeks. Amidst celebrations he passes out from over-drinking. Desperate to numb his heart’s pain, he chooses to drink and mask his feelings.
The next morning Luis feels worse. He is embarrassed by his out-of-control behavior in front of his friends and realizes it’s time for help and calls a coach
Luis finally figured something out: he does not want to drink his problems away. He wants to be free of loneliness. This startling breakthrough propels him into action. He realizes it’s time to work with a Wellness Coach and move closer to his dream of being in a relationship.
Ready to assume responsibility for his past choices, Luis is clear about choosing freedom first instead of constant pain. With coach’s support, Luis begins to imagine and define his own freedom.
“I am done with spending days and weeks without speaking to a friend or engaging my efforts to meet a romantic partner. It’s not fun staring out the window, looking at couples and families getting on with their lives. I long to go out, meet up with others, and engage in stimulating conversations.
I now choose to be bigger than my struggles. Today I choose to say “yes” to life. I’ve been dragging in the mud for so long I had no idea that Peace, Love and Joy represent true freedom.
Instead of choosing loneliness, I choose Peace. Instead of choosing unworthiness, I choose Love. Instead of choosing sadness, I choose Joy. I have plenty of time and energy to invest in love.”
Luis’ words of freedom:
I am free.
I am free to be myself.
I am free to imagine a better world.
I am free to play and enjoy life.
I am free of the need for approval from others.
I am free to dream and pursue my dreams.
Practicing Freedom = Freedom
Luis wants to let go of restraints on his freedom. By focusing on the here and now he is grateful for each day. Coach reminds him that his hope is a signal which announces his attitude is changing for the better. Luis wakes up grateful for what he already has, and trusts this is the proper message to put out so that love comes in.
Luis rightfully concludes that bravely surrendering desperation and replacing it with dedication towards personal freedom is worth a try.