Being free doesn’t happen over night. It takes work. There will be sweat and tears. Keep a handkerchief on you at all times.
The results are worth it of course. Joy. Ease. Peace. Serenity. Happiness. Fulfillment. Confidence. Unbridled love. Compassion.
Freedom is not prevalent, even in countries that protect the freedom of its citizens. Sure people have freedom of speech, but their self-talk keeps them in bondage. Many people are bound by fear, scarcity, anxiety, depression, helplessness, anger, shame, guilt, loathing, and hate.
Every day I speak with people not exercising their true right to freedom. There’s the client carrying around fear of her ex-husband that keeps her from having the relationship she wants. There’s a friend who feels trapped in an unhappy marriage but is too scared to fix it or leave. There’s another client who won’t be happy because of her limited mobility. Restriction and captivity abounds.
In this series, I’ve been sharing my own path to freedom so that you may know what it takes to live free. In part 1, I made the distinction between circumstantial freedom and freedom; because we should define our terms. I also showed you how your ego is a barrier to freedom.
In part 2, I described how to build a foundation of vision and core desired feelings that will propel you through freedom’s barriers. In this article, we will dive deeper into the walls around your freedom, especially those that come from the most unexpected places.
Is That Really Me?
According to the voice in your head, there is risk in pursuing your vision, creating your ideal life and being free. That voice you hear is not you.
We all have a voice that speaks to us. That voice says:
- “Look at the woman’s dress, what was she thinking?”
- “I’m nothing without him.”
- “I wonder if he’ll like me.”
- “I can’t believe I said that, I’m so stupid.”
- “Don’t get involved, you could get hurt.”
You likely think of this voice as your thoughts. You think this voice is you. You listen to this voice.
But this voice is not you.
Two life-changing books taught me I was not this voice. First was An Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. The next was Satan: An Autobiography by Yehuda Berg. Both books showed me that this voice was not love and therefore could not be me. Instead, the voice was that of my ego that wanted me to play life safe. But safe is not joy, love, passion and certainly not freedom.
Safe is what has people not interrupt a crime. Safe is what keeps us disconnected from each other, bickering, hating and un-friending those we disagree with. Safe is what keeps us from living our dreams.
Safe is what kept me in a business that wasn’t making me happy. My ego assured me I would be a failure if I found a job. My ego told me I was unemployable. Unhappiness is not safe.
How did I overcome my ego?
So much is written about how you have to battle your ego to have the life you want. No. Battling does nothing except create more pain and resistance.
Ego’s kryptonite is visibility and love. Each time you see, acknowledge and love your ego, you loosen its grip on your freedom.
Your Ego’s Partners In Crime
When we get clear and act, we are a threat to those around us. We show them their fears are surmountable; their own ego holding them small. Tread lightly around these souls as they will tread on your dreams.
Since your ego is your most ardent foe in your search for freedom, it will seek evidence to bolster its case for your status quo. Not only will it seek stories of people who have failed, it will find those who echo its voice.
Your ego will join with those around you in an effort to “protect” you. Friends. Significant others. Parents. Mentors. All these well meaning people will warn you of the possibility of failure, giving your ego more fodder.
When I realized I wanted to work in a team environment again and I was choosing to work for someone else to do that, I had several friends who resisted. Yes, most of my friends were supportive, but there were those who told me I was making a mistake and selling out. I had friends who were convinced a job “was not part of my vision.” Wow, that’s ballsy to think you know someone’s vision better than they do.
As it turned out, these naysayers were also self-employed. In hindsight I see these friends were scared by what I was doing. They hadn’t healed their own job scars. They feared their own business failure. They also saw freedom as circumstantial and couldn’t comprehend that I could find freedom while working for someone else. But at the time I didn’t see this and only felt hurt and betrayed.
If I was going to reenergize my career, and me, I had to shut myself off from the naysayers. This is an important and necessary step in creating freedom.
Your Freedom Will Grow In A Space Of Love
Commitment to your vision is all you have. It is your word to yourself and to keep your word you must create space for your vision to grow.
As I’ve said, freedom looks different for everyone. Whatever it looks like for you, you will likely run into people, some who are friends or family, who want to rain on your dreams and feed your ego. This is where your commitment to your vision and core desired feelings become important.
Without your visionary foundation, it’s easy to be swayed by the people you love. As you resist the naysayers, be prepared for your ego to resist. To stay committed to your vision when your friends and ego are persuasive . . .
Create a space of love.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 (Yes, I just used my first biblical quote. Who would have imagined?)
Or as I’ve often heard, love and fear cannot coexist. Love will extinguish the ego and neutralize the fear of your friends and family every time.
Here’s are a few quick ideas to start creating a space of love that will free you:
1. Start with self-love. Freedom always starts with self-love. From what and how you eat and drink, to sufficient sleep, to exercise, to indulging in massage, caring for you creates permission to be free. But self-love isn’t limited to how you care for your body. Fill your mind with loving thoughts about yourself. Affirmations, mantras, pray will crowd out the fear.
2. Forgive. We’ve all been treated poorly. We’ve all treated ourselves poorly. It’s an epidemic. The prison you have placed your self in is cemented with resentment, anger, and hate. Adopt a forgiveness practice. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.
3. See the light in others. Beyond forgiveness, it is powerful to see the light in people. If you see only their darkness, they can only be dark for you. Make an effort every day to wipe away the judgments and opinions you have of others. Begin to see them for the love they truly are.
These are just a few practices you can use to create a loving space for your freedom journey. As you practice self-love, forgiveness and seeing the light in others, their naysaying will cease or at a minimum it won’t stick to you. Create a bubble of love around you and your dreams. Be realistic, but don’t be brought down or knocked off course.
Freedom – the internal freedom we’ve been talking about – is the key to your dreams. Whether you’ve dreamed of starting your own business, an ideal job, living in a certain city or having your ideal relationship, your dream is within reach when you embrace the freedom only you can create. And above all, don’t be afraid to shift course as your vision becomes clear. This is a journey. Bon voyage.