As we are approaching July 4th, I have been thinking of our freedoms. I think of the freedoms given to us in America as the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition. Together these freedoms make us in the USA one of the freest countries in the world. There is another freedom we have. It is personal freedom.
I also think that we don’t allow ourselves to become free and be the best that we can be. Let’s look at our personal freedoms. Personal freedom allows us to live our lives on our own terms and use our power of choice. As we look at old perceptions, negative self-thoughts, fear, and “stuff” that is holding us back let’s allow ourselves to loosen our shackles, make positive changes, and become our best personal self.
1. Personal Freedom from old perceptions
Most of us have some idea of who we thought we would be at this time in our life. The longer we live the more we realize that things don’t always go the way we planned. This is OK. In fact, it might even be better. And our life is not over. We don’t need to live in our old story and beliefs about ourselves.
It bothers me when I hear people reminisce, usually when going through their “stuff” that they want to keep items so that their children know that they were someone at one time. We are someone now and we are all pretty awesome.
Start a list of what is great about you now. Think of other things you might do that continue you along your path.
2. Personal Freedom from negative self-thoughts
We all have self-limiting thoughts at times. “I could never do that.” “I will never look good enough.” “I’m too old to learn something new.” If you believe you can’t or won’t then you won’t.
When you catch yourself doing this type of negative self-talk, turn it around. “I’ve never done this before, but I can sure give it a try.” “There are a lot of people who aren’t perfect in their looks but if I feel confident and smile, I’ll look pretty good.” “Think I can’t learn something new? Just watch!”
Practice acceptance. Let go of all the “should ofs” and “would ofs”. What is past is past. Bring your attention to the now and enjoy it.
3. Personal Freedom from fear
Fear causes us to close our minds. So much of what we fear never happens, but we make ourselves sick worrying about it. We close our minds to possibilities, and we guard our emotions. We are fearful of failing so we don’t try new things. It is better to celebrate life and all it has to offer than let fear monopolize us.
When a fear emerges, take time to analyze the source. Is it something from your past? Is it something someone else is feeding you? Identify that fear and its source.
Fear makes us put things off or not try something new at all. Set goals that you can achieve. Move forward. Accept that you can make mistakes and not be a failure.
Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive.
When fear comes, and it does to all of us, sit with it a while, learn from it, and move on.
4. Personal Freedom from stuff
Stuff holds you back. Now, we all need some stuff to live and be comfortable but most of us have way too much.
When Diane Quintana and I formed our business Release. Repurpose. Reorganize, LLC, we developed a mission statement. We felt that our mission was to guide you to build your refuge in the world. To release, repurpose, and reorganize what you own so it serves you instead of you serving it.
The more stuff you have the more it costs to store it and maintain it. If your stuff is not well organized, you will end up buying duplicates of items because you don’t know where the item is or even if you still have it. It takes time to clean around and organize all the stuff.
Stuff does not define who you are. You will end up doing more stuff if you own less stuff.
Start noticing what you really need each day. What items are you storing that you almost never need? Would extra space be more valuable than the stuff you store?
Often people worry that if they get rid of something they might need it later. And that could happen. But if you get rid of 50 items and buy back one or two, you are still way ahead of the game.
Living your life as you choose is finding your personal freedom. Unshackle yourself from anything that is holding you back. Enjoy your newfound freedom!
If you are struggling with developing an organizational plan or just want some help or accountability in following through with the plan, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.
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Reading this is such a good reminder of the various things we often choose to be enslaved to. I was just suggesting my daughter, who is off on a trip later this week, just put the phone down and inhabit the experience. She is very focused on getting social media-worthy photos, which I think ends up being quite the burden. As if we need to prove to the world that our life is good, which somehow proves it to ourselves. I hope she can exhale and take this advice. Freedom begins with our choices, right?
So true! Living in the now is very important.
This wasn’t what I was expecting from the title, but I really appreciate the approach to personal empowerment through freeing ourselves from the strangleholds we unwittingly place on ourselves. While we’re facing some especially scary restrictions on our personal freedoms, we do indeed need to recognize the times when we are choosing to deny ourselves freedoms and the ways in which we can regain it. Thanks for the reminder.
Julie, thanks for your response. The freedom from fear is a big one for me and a couple of my clients. So much is happening in our world that is scary. But to let that fear immobilize us and make us sick is not the answer. Analyzing the fear and letting go of the paralysis frees us to do what we can do and still stay free and healthy.
It’s interesting, but as Julie mentioned, I thought the ‘personal freedom’ was going to be about some other topics. I love how you describe what you meant and how we can have more freedom when we shift our attitudes and behaviors. Negative self-talk, fear, physical stuff, inaccurate perceptions can be limiting and hold us back from fully living the life we want.
Thank you, Linda for your response. If we feel trapped or shackled it is important to figure out why that has happened and to change what we can change in order to be our best selves.