I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of freedom over the past few days leading up to this Independence Day weekend, and I’ve noticed just how much my idea of freedom has changed.
In 2019, my word for the year was “freedom”, and it was all about circumstances. Both of my daughters were completing their education that year, my eldest daughter was getting married, my coaching practice was growing, and my husband, Jerry, and I had big plans for travel, adventure, and fun!
And while most of it all happened as planned that year, some other unforeseen circumstances happened too. We lost Jerry’s youngest sister to cancer, and then my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness on the day of her funeral. As an only child, this left the responsibility of caring for my dad and stepmom to Jerry and me, and so of course, we had to postpone many of our plans.
Then we all know what happened in 2020, as the pandemic affected us all. For our family, there were social, business, financial and health adjustments to make. Other life circumstances happened too, including my father’s eventual passing, and then my mother-in-law’s passing the following month.
Throughout this time, I learned so much about myself and the concept of freedom, and now it’s something I help my clients with too, especially when they feel stuck or trapped.
The truth is – freedom has nothing to do with circumstances at all. And this is great because we all must deal with tough circumstances at times. It’s part of life.
For me, knowing that I am always able to choose how I want to respond to those circumstances and how I want to feel IS freedom. It’s incredibly empowering to know I have a choice.
For instance, when making a decision, I used to believe if one option had a lot of guilt attached to it for me, then it meant I didn’t have a choice. I thought I had to choose the option that relieved my guilt, or else I would be doing something “wrong” that would exacerbate my guilt even further.
Now I know the guilt is coming from me – from my thoughts – and I can choose to allow it to keep me stuck in duties of obligation, or I can intentionally create more neutral thoughts that better support living true to myself and my dreams.
Whoa, that’s big.
And when this clicks in for my clients, they often feel empowered by this knowledge too.
We always have a choice.
We can choose…
Sadness or Gratitude
Jealousy or Sufficiency
Fearfulness or Courage
Malice or Grace
Intolerance or Acceptance
Guilt or Self-Love
Misery or Joy
And does knowing this mean that we humans choose the thoughts and emotions that feel good to us all the time?
We’re human, after all. And that’s perfectly fine.
Sometimes (lots of times), we choose to indulge in the struggle.
However, the freedom part is understanding that you don’t have to be stuck in the struggle. You always have the power to intentionally choose new thoughts and emotions that inspire and free you to keep moving forward towards your goals.
Isn’t that the best news ever?
Happy Independence Day my friend!