How many times have you thought about the following: The only thing I want in the world is to be free. Wait, what does it mean to be free?
You were convinced that traveling the world and doing whatever you want will give you a sense of freedom.
TRUTH REVEALED: If your mind is not free, it won’t.
We often think that freedom means not having any boundaries, having everything you ever wanted, and not being accountable for our own decisions (or about what others say).
It’s true that freedom starts within your mind. If you’re not in control of your life, you will never be free. If you’re a slave to your desires, procrastinating 24/7, and media manipulation, you will never be free.
Being free means having a choice (and being willing) to do what’s best for you. So, here’s how you can achieve it!
What Does It Mean To Be Free?
Freedom can mean different things to different people. That being said, here are some of the most common things that denote freedom:
1. Free to be who you are
Libertarianism is a political philosophy stating that a person should be free to do whatever they want in life, as long as their conduct is peaceful.
Being a free person is often linked with freedom of speech and expression. To be free means to believe in the following things: I know who I am and I value my personal freedom.
So what if your English is not that good? It means you know another language(s). So what if you have body imperfections? Nobody’s perfect.
Being free to be who you are is the greatest gift one can give themselves. Loving yourself no matter what is the number one form of freedom everyone should strive to obtain.
2. Giving without expecting anything in return
Do you have this tendency to always expect others to give you something in return for your favors, affection, and other things? Doing that makes you a prisoner of your own mind.
Real happiness and freedom are in the fact that you’re ready to give without expecting anything in return. You give because you want to and seeing others happy makes you happy.
Being anxious about giving because you’re not 100% sure that you’ll get something in return is a real prison for every human being. Your relatives, partner, and other close people should add value to your life and vice versa.
That is how giving comes naturally and without much overthinking. So, what does it mean to be free?
It means to be selfless and to believe that others will appreciate it. If they don’t, then you don’t need them in your life. Always choose freedom over negative people.
3. Being free to follow your passions
They say that true freedom is in living your life your own way. This is often misinterpreted by many people, which is the cause of “going in the wrong direction“. Being free to follow your passion is exactly what it means to be free.
What are the things that make you get up in the morning with a smile on your face? Is it art, playing a musical instrument, writing, or helping others?
Your passions are the core of your being and following them means walking on the path to freedom. Freedom means being free to be who you are. How can you be free when you don’t know your purpose or you haven’t discovered your passions?
All these things are connected and being free means discovering yourself, working on yourself, finding your purpose, and following your passions.
4. Freedom means not being afraid to ask for help when needed
I know a lot of people who struggle when it comes to delegating. I used to be one of them.
I can confirm that this is the biggest burden a person can put on themselves. When you’re scared or unwilling to ask other people for help when needed, you’re not free. You become frustrated, and the quality of your life decreases.
Sharing your tasks and burdens with others is the key to enjoying freedom. Look at it this way: Today someone will help you with something and tomorrow you’ll be the one who helps others.
That’s the only reasonable way for things to function in today’s crazy times. Wouldn’t you agree with me?
5. Freedom from media manipulations
We are manipulated with the concept of free will because almost 80% of things we do (or don’t do) are because the media “told us so.” Let me elaborate on this.
“Buy this mascara, dress, car, glasses…BECAUSE it will make you look PRETTIER, MORE ATTRACTIVE, AND HAPPIER.” There are multiple methods of manipulation used by the media to make you act a certain way (read: to make you buy things you most likely don’t even need).
I won’t even go deeper into that because I might lose my nerves. ? What I wish for all of you is to find freedom from media manipulations and for God’s sake, stop comparing yourself to others.
Before buying a certain thing that is advertised, ask yourself: Do I really need this? If not, then don’t buy it. Many people hoard things as means of fulfilling the emotional void.
Simply put, many people think that freedom is connected with excessive buying but by doing that you’re not buying freedom. You’re putting yourself in a cell.
Happiness and freedom are within you; they can’t be bought.
6. Financial freedom
Being able to buy necessary things and treat yourself here and there is, in my humble opinion, a certain form of financial freedom. You don’t need to have a six-figure salary in order to be financially free.
You can be happy with less if you know how to spend and invest money wisely. (I’m aware of the fact that this is something only poor people would say, but you get my drift. ?)
I’m also perfectly aware of the fact that financial freedom is often a synonym for freedom. Here’s a different perspective on this. If you have poor health, financial freedom might not be that important.
Let’s say that you have enough money to afford any treatment in the world but there’s no cure for your illness. Your health is doomed = you have no freedom.
Therefore, financial freedom is important to a certain extent. There are also things that are more important than that, such as your health. Conclusion: Don’t spend money on things that will make you sick. ?
7. Free to always think positively
Free (adjective, adverb). Free is a simple, yet complicated, word. However, it doesn’t have to be if you always think positively.
When something bad happens to you, what’s your first reaction? Do you curse the universe and everything around you? Or do you try to calm down and look at things from a different perspective?
Positive thinking is one of the greatest remedies for our body and soul. They say that you become what you think about. Yup, your thoughts are that powerful.
So, are you free enough to think positively? Or are your thoughts polluted by the media and other toxic things?
Finding peace within yourself means freeing yourself. You can’t do that if your thoughts are solely negative.
8. Freedom from the fear of being alone
What does it mean to be free? Sometimes, it just means sitting behind four walls and being perfectly at ease with yourself. It also means being okay with being alone – even if all of your friends are already married.
I’ve recently read somewhere something truly inspiring: ”Stay single until you’re not scared of being single”. I think this is the recipe for freedom when it comes to love life.
You cannot expect other people to compliment you and give you a sense of freedom. This feeling is buried deep within you and all you need to do is re-discover it.
When you enjoy your own company, you’re absolutely free. You aren’t afraid of being single at the moment or spending time alone. You trust that everything happens for a reason and you have your own unique path.
Instead of choosing toxic relationships, you choose to be happy on your own until you meet the right person. If that ain’t freedom then I don’t know what is! ?
9. Free to choose what’s best for you
What does freedom mean to you? Does it mean choosing things that others have or behaving like them because they’re popular?
Freedom shouldn’t be that. It should be about taking care of your well-being, following your passions, having your style, and doing what’s best for you.
I’ve noticed that the grass is greener syndrome has become more and more prominent. People always think that they need to copy someone’s appearance or behavior in order to feel like them. (Read: in order to be free and happy).
You cannot be free or happy if you fail to discover and accept yourself. You cannot be happy if you can’t make your own decisions and stick to them.
And Carl Jung agrees with me! The proof is the following paragraph on the psychology of freedom:
”For Jung, personal growth was about awakening to self-knowledge and self-awareness. Jung believed in free will and viewed hard determinism as merely a mode of thought. If we don’t connect with the core of our being and realize that it is continuous with universal being then we will be ruled by instinct, cause and effect as described by Freud.”
10. Being free of any fear
I’m pretty sure that every single one of us has certain fears. Some of us are afraid of height, while others are afraid of love, spiders, death, you name it.
My personal fear for a long time has been a fear of public speaking. I still haven’t gotten rid of it but I’m working on it because I know that being free of any fear means FREEDOM.
So, let go of everything, take a deep breath and realize that you’re stronger than your fears. Understand that you have enormous potential and it’s up to you if you’re going to use it or waste it.
Your fears are the things that block you from achieving your full potential. If you want to be truly free, then consider coping with all your fears (minor or major) because it will make you stronger.
The stronger you are, the more free you become.
11. Free to be physically and mentally healthy
We live in a world where we have so many choices of food, drinks, and remedies. Still, few people are inclined to take care of their wellness.
Is it because of the lack of time? The lack of will? Or is it because you think that being on a healthy food regimen means suffering? ?
I personally don’t prefer living on extremes. I don’t eat junk food all the time but I also don’t starve myself. I strive to find a balance between tasty and healthy.
That is my choice and by choosing to be healthy I have chosen to be free. I never worry about whether I had too much of something or constantly telling others that I’m going on a diet.
Changing my lifestyle has brought me a sense of freedom to be healthy, to look nourished and to feel good in my skin. That’s the kind of freedom I would subscribe to any day!
12. Free to make mistakes (and learn from them)
How many times have you made mistakes and immediately thought that you were incompetent? I admit that I was guilty of doing this multiple times until I realized something.
We owe to ourselves the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. If things were going smoothly our whole life, we wouldn’t have enough material or lessons to learn from.
So, what does it mean to be free? It means accepting the fact that we’re imperfect human beings who are bound to make mistakes, which is completely normal. This simple statement can make your life so much easier.
When you aren‘t anxious about making mistakes, you are more open to accepting challenges and new opportunities. You don’t worry about potentially failing at it but you’re focused on doing your best.
And if you fail, you learn a valuable lesson and eventually try again harder which means your failure is still some kind of a win.
13. Being free to put yourself first
Do you have a tendency to always put your group of people (your loved ones) first? There’s nothing wrong with that but if you want to gain freedom, you also need to learn to put yourself first.
So, here’s a little lesson on liberty and freedom: Putting yourself first doesn’t mean being selfish. It means to be free, so be gentle with yourself.
Compromising is also important but if you start neglecting your own wishes and goals for the sake of other people, you will never feel free. You will always feel like something is missing in your life.
Well, that something is your need to achieve certain things in life and commit to them without feeling guilty for putting yourself first. After all, if you don’t love yourself, you will never be able to love others.
14. Free to be open-minded
If you don’t live in an environment that promotes differences and values everyone’s opinion equally, it will be hard for you to be open-minded. In such circumstances, open-mindedness becomes fear.
You don’t want to be judged by others for doing something out of the norm and you don’t appreciate other people’s genuineness. Instead, you become prone to judging and finding excuses for why you fail at being open-minded.
Here’s one “free speech”: Don’t listen to what society says about something. Don’t pay much attention to gossipping. Don’t seek validation from other people.
Instead, think about what you want in your life. Do you want to try new things? Do you want to overcome your fears?
If yes, it means you want to experience freedom. And you can, only if you want to.
15. Free to accept the things you cannot change
I always pray to God to give me strength to work on things I can influence and to give me courage to accept the things I cannot change. Let’s be honest with ourselves.
There will always be some things that we will want to change but some of them are simply impossible to. If we don’t accept that, we will never be really free.
So, accept the things you can’t change and focus on doing your best regarding things you can influence. That is the only way to reach happiness and freedom.
16. Freedom from controlling behavior
There are many types of controlling behavior and it can be personally or in a broad sense. The biggest prison one can create for oneself is needing to be in control of everything.
Another variation of prison would be blindly following rules (even when these rules are actually hurting you).
The concept of freedom also includes political liberty, civil liberty, and living in a free country. Don‘t allow others to convince you that you should be happy for having free oxygen.
What does it mean to be free? Being a free man or woman means living in a free society, preferably where there is little or no exposure to controlling behavior. I realize that this is easier said than done but I truly hope that better times are coming for all of us.
17. Free to love and be loved
You can never be free if you decide to lock your heart so that you don’t experience any pain. This is also known as being emotionally unavailable due to hurtful past experiences (or some other reasons).
If you want to be free, then free up your heart! Dive into the sea of love. Feel free to love not only your significant other but the whole world (animals, people, flowers, trees…). There is a special name for this kind of love and it’s called agape love.
Once you’re driven by the emotion of love, you realize how free you can truly be. You feel light, inspired, and in sync with the entire universe. You live love and love lives through you. That is the true definition of freedom.
What Does It Mean To Be Unfree?
To not be free means to feel imprisoned in your own body and mind. It is exactly the opposite of everything listed above. Being governed (unfree) mostly happens because of these two reasons:
• Sabotaging your own freedom
• Being sabotaged by society
Of course, there are also many other factors that can make you feel unfree, such as your family background, prejudice, your lifestyle, and other things.
A 19th-century French anarchist, libertarian socialist, and proponent of human liberation, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, once wrote his observation on what it means to be governed (unfree). So, here‘s an excerpt of his manifesto The General Idea of The Revolution in the Nineteenth Century (1851):
“To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”
Do you agree with Proudhon? Or here’s a better question:
Are You Free?
Instead of worrying about the question: What does it mean to be free?, I suggest that you take a few seconds of your time to think about how you feel about it. Are you free?
Are there some things that are preventing you from reaching a state of freedom? Do you feel like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now?
What are your gut feelings telling you?
Here’s my suggestion: You know you’re free when you don’t feel the need to overthink or worry too much. You enjoy being in the moment knowing the universe works in your favor. ?