One of the things I have realized and acknowledged of late is that the idea of FREEDOM is HUGE for me.

Freedom is one of my “Big 4” themes. (You can find yours too – see link at the end of this post)

What is freedom?

Freedom is about doing, saying, being, having what you want. And not doing, saying, being or having what you don’t want.

And knowing the difference.

And living the difference.

The dictionary says freedom is:

•    Exemption from external control, interference, regulation

•    The power to determine action without restraint

•    The absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.

•    Ease or facility of movement or action

•    Frankness of manner or speech

•    The absence of ceremony or reserve

You are either saying “Duh, everyone knows that” or “Sounds great, but that doesn’t sound very realistic for my life.”

When you are stuck in the latter, you are all about what you “have” to do or what you “need” to do. You are guided by what my bff Elizabeth calls the “shoulds.”

The opposite of the “shoulds” and the “have tos” is freedom.

Freedom to…freedom from…freedom of.

In the past, my then-limited sense of freedom came mostly not from external circumstances but from some sort of block(s) in my mind that had me believing that true freedom would never be mine.

I was so tied to what I thought I was supposed to do, be or feel that I completely ignored what I actually was and what I truly needed. I shushed and squashed (or thought I did) the little voice inside for years.

The little voice knew what I needed. But I thought I knew better.

And, for reasons I still don’t quite understand but for which I am grateful every day of my life, one day (actually, it was one night: 12/31/2008 to be exact), the little voice finally took over and told me, essentially, these three things:

“Enough is enough.”

“Stop settling.”

“So-so is not for you.”

Since that night (am I totally off-base in publicly admitting that I am hosting entire conversations – conventions, even – in my head?), I have been riding this crazy-wonderful wave of choice and self-expression and love and, yes, fear…all of which are hallmarks of freedom.

Freedom to be me.

To trust me.

To choose me.

And to be in a way that allows others around me to feel and be free.

And to be all of this living in accordance with the little voice – not against it, not in denial of it, not at odds with it.

Freedom is one of the key criteria through which I view and evaluate many people, opportunities and situations in my life:

Will this bring me more freedom?

Will this inhibit my freedom?

Will this compromise my freedom?

Is this in accordance with my commitment to be free?

I’m sure a therapist would have lots of questions and reasons for my freedom thing. All I know is that I cannot operate at my best or from my power if I am not truly free.

And before you start thinking about freedom as some esoteric idea removed from your life and more for the pages of history (think the Civil War, for instance), I urge you to consider the fact (not my opinion) that it is freedom, more than anything else, that will determine the quality of your experiences, your connections and your life.

Nothing else matters as much as your freedom.

Freedom is who I am. Freedom is who you are.

Freedom is about everything from the jokes you tell, the business/job you are in and who your best friend is to your clothing, your hair color, your choice of plumber and the size and breadth of your deepest dreams. And sometimes, freedom means you will disappoint others, or shock them, or upset them or totally confuse them. Some people won’t “get” the Free You. They may be threatened or scared by the Free You.

As I say with most things, the way this looks and feels for me may not and likely is not how this looks and feels for you.

My freedom is as important as yours, but mine doesn’t necessarily look or feel like yours.

Despite that, I know that you know what I am talking about. And I would bet that there is at least one area in your life where you are not free.

I know I have years of whatever the opposite of freedom is to undo. That’s a huge part of my journey right now: Undoing a lot of self-talk and beliefs that weren’t serving me and didn’t represent who I am and where I want to be.

Undoing isn’t always easy. Undoing often brings up more questions than it answers.

Despite all that, though, undoing is a gift. Because undoing is a hallmark of freedom. If you have the power and the presence of mind to know that you need to undo and you actually attempt that undoing, then guess what?

You are free.

It may not feel comfortable or good, but you are on your way. Don’t get off that path. Don’t go back to the woulds and shoulds – no matter how enticing it seems to just go back there.

Just talking a few minutes to read this and maybe letting a new idea plant itself in your head means that something could change or shift. That going back would not serve you.

You are free.

Please remember that no matter what your circumstances, no matter what (or who) you think is holding you back or keeping you from being truly free, you have the ability – at the 100% level – to choose freedom right now. Whatever got you to this point cannot be undone. Anything is possible but only you can have the first thought and take the first step.

You are free.

P.S. If you would like to learn what your “4 Words” are, check out this exercise.