Defining Freedom for Ourselves
Normally when we think about the 4th of July, it's about celebrating our country's freedom. But what if we took a moment to think about what freedom means to our own personal wellness?
When personal development coaches and spiritual leaders talk about freedom, it's often about freedom of choice. The idea is that, in every moment, we have the ability to choose. To choose what we are thinking, to choose how we are feeling, and to choose how we are responding.
Often in life when we're faced with stressful situations, tough decisions, and hard challenges, we get swept away in the crisis, thinking, "Why is this happening to me?" or "My life sucks," or other self-defeating thoughts.
We remove ourselves from choice. And most often without knowing it. But these are the times when we need to come back to remembering that we do have a choice. We have a choice in how we want to feel and think about the situation. By reclaiming choice, we can often gain a better perspective that helps us get through the difficult stuff, even when it seems overwhelming.
When COVID-19 struck and my state implemented shelter in place, I got really sad about not being able to see my family, especially my mom, indefinitely. I went down a rabbit hole of helplessness and hopelessness about the situation, eventually feeling sorry for myself despite the fact that the whole WORLD was going through this pandemic. My perspective was completely skewed because I had shut down my power to choose.
But when I started thinking about what I could do to feel better, I gave myself choice. I could decide that I didn't need to feel helpless. I could decide that there were things I could do -- like bring supplies over to my mom's house while maintaining social distance and wearing a mask -- that helped me overcome feeling overwhelmed and sad. And I could feel grateful for all I had when others were suffering exponentially more.
This created a shift for me that enabled me to feel hopeful on a personal level, despite everything that was happening.
It's not always easy to bring ourselves back to choice, but the more we do it, the more automatic it becomes. Here are some quick, easy resources to learn more.
Videos What scares me most about coronavirus - Trent Shelton If you've ever struggled to control your emotions, you must watch this - Tom Bilyeu How to control your mind - Mel Robbins Articles 5 skills to help you develop emotional intelligence - Mark Manson Who is in charge of your emotions? - Tony Robbins We are what we say - How thoughts and speech shape our wellbeing - Gary John Bishop