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Thoughts on Freedom

by | Jul 20, 2020

Freedom: Self and Other and The Pursuit of Happiness


It’s July and we just celebrated Independence Day. With all that is going on in the world, there are many aspects to think about in terms of freedom. It’s always tricky to figure out how our own freedom meshes with the freedom and needs of others. After all, we are all separate people and yet we are also connected.

Lately, I have been thinking the ideas of freedom and independence in terms of relationships.

Relationships, especially our closest ones, are challenging and an area where we can really see this tension between self and the other. There is an ongoing pull between autonomy or independence vs connection or relationship. Autonomy is about having and being our self. Connection is about that space between- our ability to see, bring our self, and meet the other person. It requires an acceptance of the other as a different being (with different views, perspectives, needs and experiences), staying grounded in our own self, and a level of caring and commitment to the ‘Us”. It requires us to take responsibility for our own feelings and to manage our reactivity. These things are very hard to do! We can only work on this and over time we get better able to do this. It requires building ‘emotional muscles’.
Interestingly, it turns out that we cannot actually have connection unless we are also separate. This is a challenging concept that takes some time to absorb.
So to be free in our relationship means that we are free to be our self and allow the other person to do the same. It means we are free to have a close, caring connection while being responsible for our own self, feelings, needs and actions, and letting the other person do the same. The best place to start is with our self.
Next month I’ll talk about freedom in our relationship with self. This can be a challenge of it’s own. You might think about what gets in the way of this for you. What weighs you down? What would you like to be emotionally free from?

If you want to explore these ideas, or you just need some tools and support, contact me at [email protected]

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Quotes & Inspiration

No one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly. When we know this, we become free. ― Buddha

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. ― Jim Morrison

When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. ― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

For to be free is to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. ― Nelson Mandela

Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond. ― Jeffrey Borenstein

On the other side of fear lies freedom. ― Unknown

Linda Stiles

LSCSW, LCSW, CFSW, Certified Imago Therapist

I am dedicated to creating an environment where clients feel safe to share and be both supported and challenged in their journey toward self-healing and growth. I specialize in helping people find peace, joy and balance in their relationship with themselves and with others.

Learn more about me