By and large each individual would like to be unfettered from the expectations of others, have the courage to live their dream and be insulated from the barbs, the criticism, the finger pointing and the ‘I told you so ‘reactions of those around us. We long to be free from the clutches of the pressures of ‘conformity’ that society at large subtly exerts on us. While social norms and personal values remain the guideposts of our life, anything outside this ambit would be seen as a curtailment of our freedom. The reality is that far too often we do not have the daring to challenge these restrictions because we are not self confident, we would like to avoid disagreements and most of all because we tend to take all of forms of feedback personally.
Yes you can enjoy personal freedom when you can bring about a balance between retaining your personal norms and self imposed norms in order to get approval of others. The latter is extremely difficult because as human beings we resent any criticism or negative feedback. Unfortunately we live in a world filled with individuals who are quick to spot and comment on anything that does not confirm to their personal standards. So your hairstyle, dress sense, gestures, choice of words, career choices, friends circle etc. are all constantly under the scanner and since we cannot please everyone we tend to try and please the majority. No sooner we do this we feel losing our dignity, independence and freedom to be what we really are.
To enjoy your freedom and explore all dimensions of your life review the following
Do you always seek approval of others? This can manifest in many ways; be it constantly expecting others to notice your new wardrobe / hairstyle etc. or always seeking permission to do anything off beat or different. You would always be constrained from enjoying and doing what you love because the approval of others is vital for you to feel the joy of being yourself.
Do you succumb to the temptation of being critical? This is reflected in the frequency with which you play spoilt sport or being sarcastic or prone to giving backhanded compliments to others. With such a mindset you would often alienate people and in turn be prone to be constantly at the receiving end of similar jibes from others. Your mind is then either preoccupied with being critical or the fear of being criticized. How can you then experience freedom of mind and body?
Do you hold back, anticipating disapproval? You are fascinated by a new dress/ gadget / holiday plan etc. but stop short of indulging because you are worried about disapproval from others. You are shackled by the chains of approval syndrome.
Are you wary of trying new and different experiences? You want to attend a new play or musical but it is a genre that you have never heard about or know anything about and so you drop the idea. Maybe you want to visit a new restaurant serving oriental food / Greek cuisine / African fare but you immediately get imaginary thoughts about the contents / taste/ presentation /ingredients being so alien to your senses and hence do not go ahead with your initial plans. Your mind is not free of wild imagination running riot.
Do you tend to brood a lot over any criticism or negative feedback? So if someone in authority criticizes your work or a close friend passes a negative comment or if you overhear something negative said and assume it is about you and you are preoccupied rationalizing the comment or justifying to yourself how wrong the others are, you would have already sacrificed your freedom on the altar of perfection.
Do failures or the thought of failure overwhelm you? The real shackles that most people find themselves bound by, is the fear of failure. Once a person fears failure then inevitably they lose the capacity to be independent, experimental, adventurous and original.
Freedom is never about being right it is about being able to march to the tune in your head, the beat that only you hear and walking towards a goal that only you and you alone can see. Don’t ever take things personally be it your own fears, others criticisms or disapproval’s, your doubts or your failures.
- Make an inventory of the numerous odds and ends lying in your house that you would like to get rid off. Now try to sell these ( garage sale / advertise it / sell it online etc.) and donate the proceeds to charity.
- Jot down the following
- Name of an individual ( who you interact with regularly) who you loathe.
- Your worst nightmare / fear.
- Your one regret in life as on date.
Now for each of the above write down 3 – 5 positive things that you can think of.
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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