Freedom...and Fear

What does the word “freedom” mean to you? My Macmillan dictionary provides 10 different definitions of the noun and goes on to add information about using “liberty” as a synonym. Many people define freedom as the “right to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whomever you want.”

Setting aside the possible anarchy and chaos that might result - maybe.

Whenever I see a definition like that, I am reminded of an art teacher I had long ago who loved creating ads for the bus cards that were limited to horizontal spaces of about 2 feet by 4 feet. She said that the limits of size and orientation gave her the freedom to let her imagination soar – she knew what the limitations were and within that space it was exciting to see what she could create that would be effective.

Being able to do anything at any time with anyone would leave me paralyzed with overwhelm and indecision. Knowing that would be my reaction, I find it necessary to create arbitrary limitations – rules, deadlines, limits on stuff used - to help focus the infinite possibilities into something that would be useful, or fun, or beautiful, or the first building block to something larger.

There is also the idea of “freedom from…” and “freedom to…” Most of the definitions from the dictionary were related somehow to government or political freedoms. For Americans this is something we remind ourselves of on the 4th of July as we concentrate on the freedoms we received with the Declaration of Independence.

What freedoms could we access for ourselves if we had freedom from fear? Not necessarily the fears that keep us safe in the physical world from falling off cliffs, jumping out of airplanes even with a parachute, being cautious about walking down dark alleys in strange cities, etc., but the inner fears about what people would think of us, how they would judge us, if we did or said or thought or laughed at something we think they wouldn’t approve of? Would they be mostly freedom “from…” for you, or “freedom to…”? Which would you prefer?

For me, it’s the “freedom to…,” to make my own choices. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychologist who was Jewish and spent three years in four different concentration camps during WWII, identified choice as “the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

That’s the kind of freedom I want to get really good at – choosing the attitudes and beliefs that help make my life full of wonder and beauty, rich with friendships and love, useful and worthwhile.

What about you?


Send a Message

"Where you begin doesn't matter. Your willingness to start is what counts."

~ Rhonda Britten

Are you ready to change your life so that you can live your best life? I'm here to support you through every step. I'm committed to helping you grow, whether you want to overcome challenges, learn how to become "fearless," or improve your relationships. 

Your journey to Fearless Living starts with a simple step: reach out today to start the conversation.

Please fill out as much of the information below as you are comfortable with, including any details you want in the message area, and I will contact you.