If you search the phrase ‘free spirit‘ in a thesaurus, the words you’ll find as synonyms include hippie, flower child, eccentric, gonzo and maverick. That’s the start of the stereotypical idea of what a true free spirit really is.

When you hear those words, you immediately think of a long-haired person, wearing loose clothes made of natural fabrics, having no real attitudes about life except for one: ‘I represent a free spirit.’

The stereotypical picture of a free-spirited person is a hippie who posts against large corporations on social media, has a tattoo that says ‘free spirit’, wears boho clothes and who superficially might seem like a free-spirited person but is definitely not the real deal.

Why? Firstly, because a true free spirit doesn’t care about other people’s opinions and doesn’t force their free-spiritedness on anyone.

Secondly and more importantly, because true free spirits seek freedom from their inner shackles as well as those society tries to put on them. 

“You call yourself a free spirit, a ‘wild thing,’ and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well, baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.” – Truman Capote 

What Mr. Capote very wisely said here means that a person whose spirit is truly free will seek freedom from their inside jail before they go and fight the outside world and all the possible jails they can be put in.

What does it REALLY mean to be a free spirit?

woman turning around in field during daytime

It means valuing your freedom and other people’s freedom above anything else. A free spirit cares about fighting internal oppressive forces as much as they care about fighting external ones, if not more. 

They walk their own path, the one that empowers them, the one that is in tune with what their soul is telling them is right, the one that leads them to fulfill their destiny.

A free spirit doesn’t have to fill any stereotypical role. They aren’t only wanderers, they can fill any role they find themselves in or wish to feel.

Being a true free spirit has nothing to do with your external image, your lifestyle or your job and has everything to do with your essence. 

Find out what the signs are that show you’re a free spirit but also the struggles that a free-spirited person faces in their life.

15 Signs You’re A True Free Spirit

1. You value experiences over objects

woman sitting on boat spreading her arms

Materialism doesn’t have a hold on you. Objects, money and possessions are only important to you as a means of living, so you don’t get personally attached to them.

You’re not obsessed with attaining wealth or becoming socially recognized for your fortune. 

You care deeply about your relationships with people, from your loved ones who hold a special place in your heart to your neighbors, the people you meet every day at work, in the grocery store, or anywhere else.

You believe in being kind. 

You value life experiences more than anything else. Travel, exploring and adventures are what thrill you and that’s what you live for.

2. Learning new things is your passion

woman in black top reading book while sitting on chair

Your ultimate wish is to know everything about the world. Your interests are not limited to one area, you want to know a bit (or a lot) about everything.

This helps you connect the dots and create a full image in your head of how this world really is.

It’s not uncommon for you to change hobbies or move from one area of study to another one when you feel like you want to.

You are okay with moving forward or skipping some parts of the traditional studying process in order to satisfy your thirst for knowledge and move on to things that awaken your interest at any moment.

3. You’re a nonconformist

tattooed woman with blue hair sitting near wall

You don’t follow society’s rules just so you can fit in.

It’s not that you don’t like being a part of a group or that you’re not social, it’s just that you don’t care about satisfying certain concepts other people have told you are important.

You don’t like walking the paths other people have already set and instead, you seek your own path.

By nature, you are a rebel. You don’t allow individuals or society to suppress you, numb you or put you in a certain box.

You don’t believe in labels and absolutely don’t want to be contained or silenced, nor do you want any of those things for other people.

4. Other people’s opinions don’t affect your self-esteem

smiling woman in gray coat crossing the street

You respect other people’s opinions but you’re not one to question your own worth based on them. You’re definitely not the kind of person who adapts your own life to your ideas of what other people live like.

For example, you’d never envy someone just because you saw them post a picture of doing something exciting on social media or think your life is in any way worse than theirs.

You value what people tell you but accept it only if it makes sense for you and respectfully deny if you can’t find yourself in what they’re thinking or saying.

You believe your own mind and instincts to make the decisions regarding your life.

5. You’re not a true extrovert but you’re also not a loner

woman with hat sitting on rock looking at water

You’re somewhat of an extroverted introvert.

You value friendships and love meeting new people but it can’t be said that you’re a true extrovert. You’re a people person to some degree, but you value your ‘me time’ too much to be called that. 

It definitely can’t be said that you’re a lone wolf either.

You do need a lot of alone-time to think about things, regain your strength and refresh your mind but you also enjoy the company of the people dear to you as well as meeting new, interesting people.

6. You’re a natural problem solver

woman in gray top holding her chin

Your logic is impeccable and you have the tools to quickly solve any issue. You have a deeper understanding of how things work and can make connections that not just anyone can make. 

This allows you to deal with problems that come your way easily and with very little fuss. There’s not a lot that can shake you.

You’re almost always able to take the facts, organize them in your mind and come up with the easiest, quickest and most solid solution with anything that comes your way.

7. You don’t dwell on the past

woman in striped shirt leaning on wooden fence

Things that happened in your past are and always will be a part of you. You’re aware that events from your past had a big impact on who you are today.

You have made your peace with any bad things that might have happened to you. You don’t dwell on the past and trouble yourself with ‘what could have been’. 

You’re aware of every positive circumstance you have had in your life and you value every kind of privilege you have had compared to other people.

You don’t judge yourself or others for something that happened to them or for their past decisions that they have moved on from.

8. You desire authenticity and recognize it easily in others

smiling woman sitting on yellow flower field

You march to the beat of your own drum. In life, the most important thing for you is to be authentic and original.

You never try to copy anyone or conform to other people’s views on life and the ways one is supposed to live it. 

You recognize easily when other people are faking something or lying about who they are because you have a natural intuition that tells you when someone isn’t authentic.

More than any other virtue, you value authenticity in others.

9. You are grounded

woman in white top sitting on stone looking at sea

Even though we don’t think of a grounded person when we think of the free spirit, they are usually very down to earth. You know who you are, where you are and where you want to go.

You don’t just follow any idea and endlessly wander searching for yourself.

You have a pretty good idea of what kind of personality you are and what kind of life you want for yourself and when you decide to change (your opinions, towns, friends, jobs, etc.) it’s because change is needed to grow, not because you don’t know what you want or where you’re going.

10. You dream big and aren’t afraid of a challenge

woman in pink blazer leaning on wall

Your levels of self-awareness are very high. You know what your virtues are as well as your flaws. Knowing yourself so well makes it possible for you to face any challenge that comes your way.

You’re absolutely not afraid of challenges, so you see them as opportunities for growth and learning.

Your dreams aren’t small. You know that anything can be possible with a lot of learning, practice, effort and a tiny bit of luck.

You’re ready to work hard but also optimistic that things will go your way once you do everything that’s up to you.

You know that in life you usually only get what you have the courage to ask for but also believe in destiny to do its part of the job.

11. Making lemonade out of lemons is your expertise

smiling woman with red lipstick holding leaf

You don’t believe that life is always amazing. You accept that many bad things happen and probably will happen to you and the people around you but you find a way to deal with them. 

Spending too much time worrying and crying over things you cannot change is not your style. You prefer to find a way out of your troubles, out of darkness, out of any mess you find yourself in.

That’s the only way of living that makes sense to you. You’re very good at finding something to laugh about in most situations because you don’t take yourself or your time on earth too seriously.

12. It often happens that you lose track of time

woman in purple top touching her hair

Sometimes, you lose yourself in daydreaming. Thinking about every place you could go, anything that might happen to you or each interesting experience you might have makes you lose track of time.

Also, you’re not a big fan of good things ending, so whenever you’re having a good time doing something with your friends, you might completely lose track of time.

The same happens when you’re doing something you love, even if it’s your job. You don’t mind working for long stretches of time until you finish something you wish to finish.

13. Every person you meet is a potential friend

two women walking near food stalls

Free spirits are very open-minded about other people and their unique experiences.

When you meet someone, you can offer them true understanding instead of judgment and there’s hardly anything someone can tell you that would surprise you or chase you away if your intuition tells you the person you’re talking to is interesting, good and authentic.

Everyone you meet can become your friend. You’re never really looking for friends but easily accept people in your life and that’s the reason why you have many.

14. You don’t look for a quick fix, you look for substance

woman with eyeglasses using laptop

In life, you never try to do something as quickly or as easily as possible. You want everything you say and do to mean something and to be well said or well done. 

You care about substance and don’t want to do just anything to pass time. You always give your maximum in order to find the best possible way to do something and create something valuable.

It doesn’t matter to you how much time or energy it takes, if something is worth your time at all, then it’s worth doing right.

15. You’re proud of your independence

blonde woman standing near red flowers

Free spirits are fiercely independent and proud of it. You prefer to do everything on your own terms.

You don’t really need anyone and the people you choose to be in your life are there because you want them, not because you need them. 

You can do anything on your own and don’t mind spending a lot of time alone. People have a hard time understanding your independence but you don’t mind that at all.

5 Struggles A Free Spirit Faces In Everyday Life

1. Free spirits can’t function if they feel restricted

woman in checked dress sitting on leaves

They shut down completely when they are in situations where individuals, family or society try to make them into who they aren’t. 

Free-spirited people live their life on their own terms and if they find themselves in situations when they can’t do that, their life gets quite troublesome. 

They have a very hard time living a life that’s filled with routine. They need to be able to change things as they go, whenever that’s necessary for them to feel better, grow, have a new experience or learn something new.

2. They can never find one ideology that suits them

woman sitting on ground looking at mountain

Since they are constantly trying to make sense of the world we all live in and to connect the dots to make a picture that would explain everything, they often change their opinions about their religion, political opinions, etc.

They’re always seeking ways to make themselves better people by learning as much as they can.

Even though they always seek love and acceptance and would never shut someone down for thinking differently or believing different things than they do, they have a hard time deciding which things they learn are really true and can be prone to changing their opinions often.

3. Their partner can hardly ever keep up with them

woman in yellow floral top standing near wall

It’s hard to keep up with such a big personality. They don’t need other people to fulfill them or to make their life perfect. They only seek those who can enrich them and make their life better. 

They see their partner as completely equal and need a relationship that follows this concept. They do anything to love their partner the way they deserve but they also want that in return.

Their soulmate usually needs to be free spirits themselves. Loving a free-spirited person isn’t easy.

4. Focusing on things can be difficult for them

woman in red top leaning on laptop while sitting on chair

They have a habit of zoning out and living in their own mind. They have difficulty living in the moment because there is so much information circling their brain every second. 

They constantly try to navigate their thoughts that come in waves and can be very difficult to follow.

When concentrating on something is necessary, they can force themselves to do so but generally, concentration and focus are their biggest issues and things they can’t seem to find a way to handle.

5. They are hyper-emotional

grayscale photo of woman touching her eyes

They have every trait of an empath, who absorbs other people’s emotions, and that can be very tiring.

It’s exhausting living through your own emotions, so imagine what it’s like to feel everything anyone you come close to feels. 

They are very sensitive to other people’s feelings and no matter how good they feel, if they find themselves surrounded by sadness, they’ll immediately fall into it.

One benefit of this is that when they’re feeling low, it’s enough to surround themselves with happy people to find their way back up.

Each person has what it takes to be a free spirit.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that being one is the best thing that can happen to a human being but one thing is certain; living a life where you’re not walking on eggshells, where you feel strong and free to be who you are, is an incredibly liberating and outright ecstatic experience that everyone deserves to have.

Breaking The Stereotype: The Essence Of Being A Free Spirit