Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Personal Freedom

Being an American, Freedom is something that we talk about all the time.  We celebrate Independence day, the day in which we declared our freedom as a nation.  There are a lot of hot topics involving Freedom, from slavery to troops to the right to marry.

But I think we don't always stop and think about what Freedom truly us as individuals.  Figuring out what makes you feel Free is the first step in achieving that Freedom in your life.  And what makes one person feel Free could make another person feel completely caged in.  This is where I think a lot of people make mistakes regarding Freedom...they assume that what works for them is what everyone else needs too.

The idea that always comes to my mind involves independence and feminism:  being a housewife.  I am a housewife, and I have been for most of my adult life.  I have worked, and I worked both before and after our son was born.  I also consider being a housewife as work, just a different kind of work.  Being in charge of the house, is a job that never ends, it doesn't have days off, and things have to keep happening, no matter what else is going on.

And in a lot of ways, it's like a never ending cycle.  As soon as you do one job, it starts building up to need to be redone.  Dishes washed will get dirty.  When you cook a meal, you know that soon there will be another that needs cooked.  It's a lot of maintenance work, a lot of keeping track of what needs to be done and making sure it gets done on time.

I also feel like taking care of my family is part of my job.  So making sure that everyone's schedules work...which sometimes takes some finangling!  But also, the emotional health of my family.  I tend to how my family feels.  This might mean massages for hubby after a long day of work, listening to son when he's frustrated about things, making sure they both are getting enough downtime when we get busy with whatever has come up.

There are a lot of people that would find this constricting.  I won't lie, sometimes I do to.  I don't have a car, I am often here, at the house, by myself.  I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the never-ending nature of what I just the sheer repetitiveness of it.  But most of the time I love it.  I love taking care of my family, I love being able to alter what I am doing as needed.  I love being in charge of my own life.

For me, this is a Freedom, and for other people it would be a prison.  For some people, working a 9-5 job that they love is a Freedom, while for others they only feel Free when they have no schedule at all. 

There are so many paths in this world, that it is time we start realizing that someone else might have chosen the path they are walking, no matter how alien it seems to us.  It can be a hard thing to do, especially when another person's path feels unhealthy to us.  And it can be really hard to see where the healthy boundary is, because what works for one person could be a toxic thing for another.  Sometimes, the people involved can't even see which side of the line they are on.

Which is why it is so important for us to examine, define and understand what our own measure of Freedom is.  We need to know why we crave the things we do, to make sure we are coming from a healthy perspective.  There are a lot of things that we might seek out for the wrong reasons, but we think we are doing what is right for us.

Mental struggles can make this really hard.  There are places in my life, that I can only see clearly when I'm not in the middle of them.  When I'm in a good mental space, I know where my troubles lie, and I know what I am going to struggle with.  I even know what I need to do to avoid or overcome my issues sometimes.  But when I am deep down in it, I can't see the other side.  All I can do is feel where I'm at, and take things one breath at a time.

This is another place where we can see Freedom:  Freedom from our own internal issues.  And this Freedom can take many different forms.  For some, Freedom might mean getting professional help, while for others they just need that one friend who will be there to listen to them.  Freedom might mean a strict regimen of medicine and therapy, or it might mean finding alternative treatments. 

Sometimes, Freedom also means acceptance.  Being Free to be who we are, no excuses, no changes....just to BE.  It may mean that you acknowledge that you will have down days, and that it's okay.  You may need someone to be your keeper, so that you can feel Free to go through what you are going through without worrying about whether or not you are going to hurt yourself or someone else.  You may need to ask for help, to handle your normal responsibilities while you are unable to.

Freedom is a beautiful thing, no matter what shape it takes.  Freedom lets our hearts sing and gives us wings to fly.  It lets us be who we are, and lets us shine in our own unique way.  So find your Freedom, figure out what makes you feel amazing and Free and the most you that you can be. 

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