With the holiday of Passover coming up, I have been doing a lot of thinking about Freedom and wondering about when it is that we are truly Free.
One thought that comes to mind when thinking about what it means to be, and feel fully and truly, free come from one of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite childhood singers, Bob Marley, who in his song entitled ‘Redemption Song’ sings: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” I remember those words being very meaningful to me as a teenager who was likely yearning for her own emotional freedom at the time.
What does it mean to be mentally free?
I would love for you to ask yourself that question, and then add another question: ‘What does it mean for me (meaning you) to be mentally free?’
What is it that you need to let go of in order to free yourself to pursue what it is that you truly want, in order to believe in yourself, in order to stop feeling angry, frustrated, down, stuck?
(Please note that the following questions are coming from a place of love and support):
Is it the failure, or ‘not deserving’, story you are telling yourself?
Is it the negative/complaining language you are using?
Is it the negative (and perhaps even abusive) way that you speak to or about yourself?
Is it the lack of belief you have in yourself?
Is it the complaining or judgement you are doing about others?
Is it the anger or resentment you are still feeling towards those who hurt you in your life?
Is it the resentment or anger you are holding onto about the past or mistakes you may have made?
What is it that you are holding onto?
I believe that to be mentally free one needs to take Self-Leadership.
Self-Leadership, in the way that I define it, means to let go of blaming and complaining (about yourself, about others), and to start being a creator instead.
Someone on social media tagged me on a post he had written on Freedom and asked me to share my thoughts on what I think is necessary to become entirely free.
This is how I responded:
“I have learned that in order to be free we must learn to let go of what is not in our control, be clear about our unique path, take personal responsibility, know and decide what to do, and take action to make things happen.”
Whether it is to have better relationships, be inspired or motivated in your work, make a decision about your next steps, or to be truly happy and fulfilled…taking personal responsibility (instead of blaming, complaining, waiting for someone else or for things to change, or for someone else to tell you what to do) will help you get there. It is what will help you truly set yourself free.
This has been my experience, and the experience of the hundreds of clients that I have worked with over the years.
The First Time I Felt Truly Free
The first time I remember feeling truly free was when I attended the funeral of a relative of mine. Due to a number of very negative (and even harmful) experiences I had with these relatives, my relationship with them was not very good. I went to the funeral to support my parents, who were mourning the loss of this relative. I sat quietly in the back row. By that time I had learned about the concept of taking personal responsibility and letting go of anger, blame and pain and had been incorporating it into my life. As I sat there listening to the eulogies, especially the one from my cousin who was very close with these relatives, I felt no anger. In fact, I was able to appreciate my cousins close relationship with these very same relatives I had a negative experience with. Until then, I hadn’t known how much I had grown. Before doing the personal responsibility work that I was doing, I was full or rage, anger, blame, and pain. Now I felt none of that. It was quite amazing actually.
It was clear to me that taking personal responsibility is what truly sets us free.
One more thought about what it means to be Free
Yesterday evening I attended a class on the the thoughts of Rav Soloveitchik zt”l on the Passover seder. He said that the Jewish people finally became free when instead of getting revenge after being freed from slavery (which would have been understandable), they sat quietly with their families and said hallel – they gave praise and thanks to G-d. It was gratitude, not revenge (i.e. blaming and complaining), that truly set them free, mentally and spiritually.
I encourage you to take the time to think about what it is that you feel you need to do in order to be truly free.
Wishing you true Freedom so that you, too, can create and live a life that brings you true joy and fulfillment.
In support and admiration,