Thoughts on being truly free
Last month we celebrated Juneteenth. This weekend we celebrate July 4th.
An Independence day is a reminder that we live in a free world. Very often that freedom is hard earned. Sometimes, as we are currently witnessing, the struggle for freedom continues for years beyond the independence day.
Celebrating independence days, whether July 4th or the Indian Independence day (which I celebrated as a child, still do) is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of independence and freedom.
Why is independence important?
What does it mean to be free?
Do you feel free? If not, what will it take to be completely free?
I won't get too much into why independence is important. It's fairly obvious. Each human being is born with unique talents and abilities. Each one of us is equal. We must strive to create a society where everyone is celebrated. Where everyone is given equal access to opportunities, a space to truly shine and express who they are.
This can happen in an independent society.
At least that's the vision. A vision worth striving for.
But, is freedom only important at the level of the country?
As I envision it, there are three levels of freedom:
Societal / Country- This is the freedom of a country or a society, where citizens govern themselves.
Interpersonal / Family- This is the freedom to genuinely be yourself in relationships.
Even though a country may be free, an individual citizen may still not feel free.
Differences between who you are, and the notions of who you should be can be severely inhibiting. Even if you don't impose those constraints on you, other people may. You may feel stifled by how the other people around you want you to be.
Interpersonal freedom means you can be who you are in all your relationships. You can express yourself genuinely. You don't have to hide yourself.
This includes freedom at work to express yourself authentically. Without having to hide your culture, your identity.
Without this freedom, we feel suffocated. This freedom is essential for us to thrive in our environment. To chase our dreams, & live up to our potential. Interpersonal freedom helps us create happy families, contribute meaningfully at work, and feel like we belong.
Individual / Inner- This is freedom that you feel inside.
Inner freedom allows you to believe in yourself. When you feel free inside, you have the conviction to stand for your ideals, and the courage to follow your dreams.
Inner freedom is the knowledge that you are in charge of your happiness. It's the freedom from obsession of what others think about you.
Inner freedom is what makes you truly feel good about yourself & your choices in life. It's the freedom to be who you really are, when alone and with other people.