During history, many philosophers, psychologists, and theologians thought about the question of freedom and what it means. In their broad research, they settled to the most unhelpful concept ever: Freedom cannot be defined and everybody imagines it differently. Generally, most people think it means to do whatever they want to. But that isn’t freedom. It is permission.
Freedom as opposed to permission
To do whatever you want to means to go against law, morale, and the wellbeing of others. It means that you have permitted yourself to act on your every whim and feeling. However, this permission to “follow your feelings” is not true freedom. While feelings can be a root of wisdom, a life guided by feelings that allow everything will be destructive. Not only to others but to yourself too.
Running away from freedom
Opposite of it is to run away from freedom. I read somewhere that people rarely want to be free because that means to stand up to others and to endure the pressure of the real world. So what to do then? People tend to pretend they are free and run away into the alternative version of freedom.
Alternative versions of freedom
First such “freedom” is total control of your environment. Life challenges you every day in different ways. It forces you to react to the new problems and pushes you out of your comfort zone, but it is not all for nothing. While solving these problems, you grow and become a better version of yourself, a capable adult. Unfortunately, it is easier to pretend everything is alright and to live in your little fairytale where you, and everything around you, is perfect. That controlled state will crumble one day, and you will try to run into yet another fake freedom – self-destruction.
Freedom demands from you to accept yourself fully, the good and the bad, and that is often hard. So rather than confronting the ugly picture you see in the mirror every day, you will find excuses to condone destructive behavior. Under the cover of releasing your pressure, you will enter into the world of alcohol, promiscuity, cheap fun, and other socially acceptable tools to escape the real freedom. It is easier to forget than to change. It is easier to anesthetize yourself every time it becomes too hard than to become a better version of yourself. This will lead you to the third and final false freedom which is commonly known as conformism.
The hardest thing to do in your life is to admit to yourself that you are responsible for every single failure that you endured. To take the blame for it means to admit to yourself the truth you’ve been avoiding all along: You brought it all to yourself. My grandma used to say: “Are you looking for whys and hows? Look no more, for it’s all right here. The only ‘why’ you have to ask is why are you afraid to do something about it.” As simple as it is, you will do everything but accept that blame. Instead, you will blame everything else; family, friends, society, hell, even the world itself.
You might wonder by now what all this has to do with freedom. Well, it was my path to realizing what true freedom is and how to acquire it. How to live life to the fullest of its potential and enjoy every single second of it. How to let it all go and become a person you want to see in the mirror every morning. Most of all, how to live with yourself.
The true freedom is no more and no less than being the best version of yourself in every single moment, regardless of your internal and external pressures. Think about it for a second and try to find the truth in those simple words and just let it all go. To be free you have to grit your teeth and stop thinking about what others want from you (be it your family, friends, or society). As stupid as it sounds, freedom isn’t free. You have to seek it inside your very self even if the pursuit of it seems frightening and challenging, but don’t be afraid, for it is there, waiting for you to discover it.
They say the hardest battle is one against the devils of your mind, but I’m confident you’ll be able to come on the top of it victorious. Question is, are you?