The act of living in freedom is a multifaceted conception and while it remains a subjective unique experience there are overarching freedom desires that unite people globally in crying out for it. Justice, equality, self-expression, purpose and many more under this umbrella term. All these we strive for to live in and fully, knowing who we are and confident and accepting of the matter of our existence.
Every human character is wrought out of the exposure to difficulty, the overcoming of adversity and the ability to fully and freely feel joy in the abating of what can often seem to be an endless storm of struggle. We find, generally, in love and connection the ushering in of peace, that lightness of being that comes with total acceptance by others and the sufficient asserting of our status as fully functional people. From a young age we all grow into cages of one sort or another, frequently stifled and constrained by a desire to achieve something that we have been assured of as being our salvation, our purpose giver, our life affirmer but more often than not we can never reach that platform of greatness in our chosen route to identity affirmation but climb up a step only to find ever more steps going upwards before us. There are many factors causative of this from the traditions and practices held by our families, the environment of where we grow up, the cultural values held by the people around us to the infiltration of mass media in our lives. What arises from this cage of success and personal worth claimers is that we feel inadequate or sometimes superior to the others around us and we can beat ourselves up as we never truly question why we hold so tightly and seek so devastatingly these things which elude and fray us.
Feeling trapped in our circumstances or in the circle of successful living can be overwhelming and panic inducing. It is common to get swept away in a tide of feeling ‘not good enough’ when we all strive to cement our worth in the achievements that are dictated by society but are not necessarily individually based. We are not all same, we are different with seekings that are similar but the opportunity of a self-expression and realisation of character in numerous beautiful differing ways and setting up one path as the best one to personal peace and self-acceptance fractures the uniqueness of people, instead of breeding a society of similar, forward minded individuals what you get is a conglomeration of people where some rise to the top but the rest live constantly trying, getting waylaid often and wrestling with inferiority or indecisveness as to who they should be.
The different struggles we face can be felt by many on differing levels and this is what should strengthen and compel us to break down the bars we have around our self-affirmation and live unencumbered by judgement or self restriction and shame. We all struggle, therefore we should all seek the personal and global freedom of others. For so long I lived within the confines of a thin cage, bars made of a view of my self as being less than and unloved because my appearance did not match the one set by the world as the most lovable and coveted. I also believed everyone saw me the way I saw me and was disgusted and ashamed of myself for not being pleasing to others in the way I wish I could. I felt completely inferior to the people in my life and that I was letting them down by not being enough and so barricaded myself and rigorously punished myself physically and verbally in order to be good enough to satisfy the happiness of others. I lived a nonsensical life dictated by imagined conversations, situations and the thoughts of others. Placing the entirety of my worth in my physical self and the reciprocal love of others was doomed to fail as I never got the love nor acceptance I so craved as not only was I deluded to the way people viewed me I had an expectation of love that could never be realised in another person. I wanted assurance I was totally and irrevocably lovable and acceptable, beautiful and sought after and I wanted a person to sweep in and assuage all these insecurities that bound me within this desperate version of my self. This person was completely built upon a fantasy of romance from books, movies and other influences. I wanted wholeness through someone giving it to me and was forever trapped to feeling I was not worthy of that, too unlikeable for love and fixing I felt I would be forever broken. I removed myself from others and felt I couldn’t measure up to what the world wanted me to be in order to be so completely loved.
What I could not grasp was this role was never one intended for a man to step into, I was not a half person waiting for that other half person to make me feel rescue me but a whole person trapped in a belief system of my self-worth being composed from truths I agreed with that society had presented me. I believed I was not enough because I did not hold the beauty the media industries personify as perfection, I believed I was too much because my odd nature and burning conversational desire was labelled as abnormal and weird, maybe somewhat overbearing and I believed my life did not mean much because I contributed little to the societal cog. I am not particularly career driven nor do I find much happiness in amassing a particular lifestyle or reputation, and these are good things to seek after, but the reasons I lived with such despondency was because I was trying to be all these things because I thought they would fulfill me, certify me and give me a good life when they were not me. I was not freely, utterly myself but trapped in trying to be ‘the’ woman, that goddess of functionality who is loved and loves with transformative capabilities and still manages to affect the world around her in a positive way without messing up her hair. A broken self seeking gluing back together by other people all equally as broken and none feeling truly free enough to remove the masks they constantly wear in order to fit those roles we choose to accept.
For me I had to make a choice to accept myself or lose myself and in order to do that I had to decide on the valid claim on my identity and worth I was going to base it all on, whether I was what the world wanted of me or I had to reach for that or I could understand myself in the context of what someone bigger and stranger was telling me. I personally chose to forge a relationship with Jesus whose particular brand of freedom had been presented to me often throughout my life, who offered an understanding of myself with regards to Him and His truth. I chose to accept that He was a presence in my life. I wished to acknowledge that I am living for more than the here and now and the teachings of Jesus allowed me to see that my worth should not be dictated by other people or society, I was presented with an understanding of wholeness of character and it allowed me to see that I am who I am and my happiness does not have to correlate to the approval of others. I live in personal freedom because of this.
Freedom from a personal prison is a choice that must be made regardless of how your feelings demand you to respond. An intellectual, logical and spiritual acceptance of a truth, wherever you decide to derive your freedom, that is steadfast in a world of outside influence that being who you are is acceptable and your worth cannot be added to or subtracted from the opinions of others. When we seek to live freely we are holding to the knowledge that the truths we accept about who we are and how we are in the world can rise above our circumstances, are not dictated by worldly expectation or controlled by a standard we feel we must meet for maximum life satisfaction guarantee. Freedom for me will always be a daily choice to live and seek peace in who I am, leaning not on the limited understanding I glean of worth from the societal forces around me but accepting a truth that I can be at peace with myself even when the odds seem to never be in my favour.