What is freedom? Is it the ability to make independent choices and to live as an equal citizen or the ability to express your thoughts and opinions without being discriminated for it? Freedom is varying, context dependent and sometimes painful. Having much autonomy comes with much responsibility. Having less freedom doesn’t make you any less responsible, but it can crush your spirit and hope by limiting your possibilities and abilities for change. We learn to appreciate freedom once we have experienced the lack of it. Also, both the existence and absence of freedom can create fear: fear from having too many options and fear from being constantly oppressed.
We live in a time with an abundance of choices and alternative lifestyles. Identity has become something you create and self-discovery the desired solution to confusion. Yet, the truth is, you might not be as free as you think. You might think you are living a life of independent choices, while simultaneously building your lifestyle and identity around those values that are generally accepted and popular.
There is a struggle between fitting in and standing out too much. We are pressured to “be something”, as long as we are not “too much”. This applies to everything. The clothes you wear, the food you eat and the way you speak. You can hardly call it freedom, when your social environment does not allow you to just be, or when you constantly need to prove your worth and justify the space you occupy on this planet.
True freedom takes courage. The choices we make each day to conduct ourselves. The actions we take to become the person we genuinely want to be. The times we listen to ourselves instead of choosing to please others. True freedom is unapologetic and only serves one goal – integrity. This means staying true to ourselves, in every situation. We can live our lives unquestioning each move and decision we make, or we can debate every piece of knowledge or advice that is thrown upon us. Most of all, taking personal responsibility towards freedom and self-realization is not something to be worried about. The more you allow yourself to become you, the more freedom you will also give to the people surrounding you.