We are free, right?
We are all free to think, feel and do what we like, when we like. But there are always consequences. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, as Newton’s Third Law of Motion taught us in elementary school. Most of us learned this, but how many of us apply it to our own lives?
Freedom isn’t about skirting our responsibilities. It’s not solely about what I want in this moment without regard to the future, other people, or the environment. There are other people whom our actions affect. And what we do today will have an impact on our tomorrow.
GRIT paves the way to freedom. Generosity, Respect, Integrity and Truth. To genuinely be free, it starts with our own Truth. Freedom starts with self-awareness.
So often, people feel trapped. They can’t say what they want to say, or be who they want to be. They stuff down their emotions and hide their true thoughts. They gossip about others to avoid a confrontation. They rant about the President, the millennials, their partner, or any other thing they can find as an excuse. They feel stuck in the town they’re in, the relationship they chose, the job they have. I wonder if they know how close they are to being happy, to being free from all the negativity.
Freedom is about choice. It’s about what we set in motion, and how we react - even to the things that we didn’t set in motion but still affect us today. When I started to understand this, although it was tough at first, I really began to enjoy catching myself in the negativity, because I knew how close I was to stopping the madness!
But we can’t even choose if we’re not self-aware and self-accepting.
The only way to true freedom is to take ownership of what we’ve set in motion, and how we’re reacting.
We can start with looking at our own Truth; by noticing if we are:
Taking things personally
Numbing out with drugs, television, or any other escape
Then we can use GRIT to pave the way to Freedom:
Practice self-awareness: How are you feeling? What are you thinking? Is it true? Are you complaining or blaming? Are you taking it personally?
Use your emotions to help you be aware of your thoughts and feelings.
Accept where you are right now.
Choose what you want to think, feel and do.
Take ownership of what you think, feel and do and how it impacts yourself and others, now and in the future.
Choose your actions. Align your behaviors to what you want.
Respect yourself by getting the sleep you need, practicing self-reflection, eating the food that makes you healthy, moving your body, nourishing your spirit and your soul.
Respect others. Don’t assume you know what someone else is thinking, feeling, believing, and even doing. My grandmother used to say, believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see. That includes your own thoughts!
Be generous to yourself. Don’t just give, give, give and then feel resentful.
Allow the flow. Receive from others.
Have gratitude. Give from your heart, not for ulterior motives.
You decide where and when you want to give. When it’s genuine generosity, the reward is far greater.
Freedom is living the life you want, not the life you think others want you to live. It’s taking full responsibility for your choices and your reactions. It’s enjoying your journey, and accepting the full spectrum of being human.
While we’re celebrating our freedom in early July, let’s be mindful of the freedom and happiness we can create for ourselves and for those around us.