Freedom is something that most everyone wants to have more of – and rightfully so. But chances are that right now you’re limiting your own freedom and restricting your own ability to have or do what you really want.
Most people tend to think that their freedom – or lack of – is strictly the result of external circumstances. The thinking goes: “If I only had the money / time / fitness / partner / job / environment (choose one or insert your own) I’d feel more free.”
That’s true in part. But real freedom originates internally. Your ability to feel free comes as a result of the beliefs you hold and the thoughts you think. And there are specific, unnecessary habits of thought and action that may be limiting you each and every day. The good news is that if you developed the habit, you can change it too.
Non-useful, Freedom Stealing Habits
Now, what are three of the top unnecessary and non-useful habits that rob you of your freedom?
1. Holding on to blame, resentments and grudges – playing the victim.
Blaming others, feeling resentful, holding grudges, all of these are symptoms of the habit of playing the victim. This habit burdens your heart and weighs you down. It clouds your mind, narrows your awareness and restricts your range of choices any time that you indulge in it. When you play the victim to someone or something else, you give up your power and hand over responsibility for your life. You resign yourself to being always at the mercy of circumstances beyond your control.
2. Over-concern about what others think of you.
It’s fine to be aware of how others perceive you, but when you care too much you rob yourself of the freedom to be authentically you. The habit of continually trying to please or win the approval of others is a prison of perception. It locks your attention almost entirely on the other person – gauging their reactions or responses to you. It limits the choices you have as to how you look or what you can say and do. You become shackled by the moods and opinions of others.
3. Ruminating about the past / worrying about the future.
The habit of rumination and worry is a one-way route to nowhere. It drags your awareness from the present moment – where the real experience of life happens – to dark corners of your mind where regrets prowl and demons lurk. Rumination and worry imprison your mind and rob you of the freedom to explore new possibilities and opportunities. The time and energy you expend in this way is a complete waste in terms of producing the life results you claim you want.
Now one more thing that all of these habits have in common is that they cause stress – chronic emotional and physical stress. And chronic stress has been shown time and again to be linked to health issues and dis-ease of all sorts.
There you go! Do any of these habits sound familiar? Can you recognize any ways in which you are limiting your own freedom right now? If so, don’t worry or fret. Since these are all internal habits, there are simple steps – positive practices – you can take to begin to set yourself free!
1. Exercise Awareness and Choice
One thing you can do to free your mind is to exercise your ability to be aware and your power of choice. You always have control over your thoughts, words and actions (even though sometimes it may not feel that way) So start to become aware and catch yourself when you slip into one of these habits. Then make a choice to do something different. For example: If you notice yourself worrying, interrupt your own thought process. Say to yourself something like: “Stop, I choose not to worry about this.” Then refocus your attention back into the present moment and back onto the task or activity at hand.
2. Practice some form of mindfulness or meditation.
A few minutes of meditation or simple mindfulness exercise each day helps to quiet the mind, relax the body and relieve stress. Mindfulness and meditation are practices that focus your attention and awareness in the moment. In addition to the benefits of relaxation and stress relief, they give you the experience of redirecting your thoughts to be present and aware. This enables you to more easily redirect your thoughts and re-focus your attention when you find yourself indulging in any of the limiting habits listed above.
3. Practice forgiveness every day.
Forgiveness is the act of releasing a negative judgment about some person, event or situation. In doing so, you also let go of the corresponding burden of unresolved emotions, constricting beliefs and reactive behaviors. It is a solution to each of the named limiting habits. It relieves stress and anxiety by eliminating stored anger, resentment, blame, guilt, shame and regret. Forgiveness is something that too many people fail to understand or even explore. Yet it is a fast and sure way to cultivate greater freedom of the mind and heart! Genuine forgiveness is the gift that sets you free, and it is ultimately unconcerned with others. But when you choose to give it to yourself, you naturally and freely share it with those around you too.
If you recognize that you want more information and help to break the negative habits and develop any/all of the positive practices described above, I’ve got an invitation for you. Come and join me for the Liberate Your Mind and Heart (with the F-Word) teleclass series. You’ll receive instruction and support with exercising awareness and choice, practicing meditative techniques, and of course forgiveness. Best of all, you’ll give yourself the gift of greater freedom in all areas of your life.
Imagine feeling free, present, clear and joyful in the moment. What could be better than that?
Click here now to get more information.
As always, thanks for reading!
May you live, forgiven and free.