Changing one small word in your thoughts can make a tremendous difference in how you feel.
One of my main goals has always been to achieve a state of complete personal freedom one day. And to help as many others as possible do the same.
Until recently, I had a list of things most of us need to be “free from” if we want to be able to act as we desire in each moment. On that list were things like:
• Social conditioning
• Shame and fears
• A boyfriend who’s not into threesomes
…basically anything that could be limiting your freedom
Some of these I had already “conquered”. Others, I was still struggling with. But I was making progress. I was tackling them 1 by 1 and in baby steps, I was becoming more free every week.
What I didn’t realise, was that this is an impossible race to win.
As long as you’re trying to be “free from” something, it is impossible to ever be truly free.
The funny thing is that the very fact that you’re trying to, is what’s actually preventing you from ever being free from it. The harder you try, the more it holds you in its grasp. When you fight it, you’re actively helping it grow stronger. You are giving it more and more control over you.
Every time you even mention the very thing you’re trying to be free from, you’re affirming its power. Maybe one day you’ll say you “won” and consider yourself “free from it” but in reality you’re just spending a lot of mental energy suppressing it.
For example: If you’re trying to be free from social conditioning by trying to go against it, you are actually emphasising its weight on you. The perceived “crowd” that doesn’t like whatever you’re doing doesn’t exist. That is until you create it by doing things to deliberately alienate them.
On top of that you wouldn’t be acting freely, you would be letting the existence of social conditioning decide your actions. If you didn’t believe there was social pressure put on you to “walk in line”, would you then still genuinely desire to do the things you do in order to rebel?
Once I grasped this distinction, I knew I could throw the whole list away. The fact that I was still trying to be “free from” anything would keep me locked up in chains as long as I held on to that mindset.
Instead I decided that from now on I’d focus on the things I wanted to do and being “free to” do them.
Then I had a funny epiphany:
There’s something very cool about trying to be “free to” instead of “free from”.
Can you guess what?
You don’t have to work on, change, or do anything in order to become “free to”. In fact, you always have been!
If you want to be free of peer pressure… Instead of having to fight to break free from it, you could just relax and be yourself, you’ve always been free to do that.
If “yourself “happens to be someone who stands out from the crowd, great. If you’re naturally more somebody who likes to blend in, terrific!
You don’t need to be “free from” anything anymore when you’re already “free to”. In fact, being “free to” is so easy and natural that it kind of ruined my big goal since I will no longer have to work on it. I already reached it when I was born.
Think about it:
• Instead of trying to be “free from” the emotional pain caused by someone who hurt you in the past, how about realizing you’re “free to” enjoy this moment, feel good and do whatever cool thing you desire?
• Instead of trying to be “free from” your insecurities, how about just realizing you’re already “free to” act in spite of them. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first?
• Instead of trying to be “free from” the demands of a job you’re getting tired of, how about realizing you are “free to” quit and walk out if you want to?
“But the law says…”
…nothin’ you idiots! The law’s dead, he’s locked in my basement ?