If there is one lesson that I have learned in my 30’s that I am extremely grateful for, it is the lesson of Living Free. Now this concept can be a little confusing, but if you can understand and implement it in your life, I promise your mental health will strengthen and your love for life will flourish.
There are 3 Freedoms that if all are embraced, you will begin to see the world and its inhabitants in an entirely new and liberating light.
Free From Judgement
This one has probably been the toughest for me. I am such a people pleaser and have worried my entire life about what other people thought. I am very determined and driven for success but honestly; it was never for myself. My drive has always stemmed from the desire to prove myself and the longing to be accepted. It’s hard to believe the woman in the picture above used to despise makeup, wear my dads flannels and baggy clothes, didn’t own a pair of heels, and was humiliated by the mean girls in middle school. I was so afraid of rejection from my peer group that I kept a handful of close friends and gravitated more to the adults in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been social and talkative but my trust for mankind was destroyed at a young age when I would pursue the things I enjoyed and would be chastised for it. For example, I loved the flute! Guess what, I was in the band. I enjoyed it but hated the stereotypical jokes that came along with it, so I quit. When I moved to Mississippi in middle school, my urban fashion choices turned up a lot of noses and awarded me tons of scoffs in the halls. I met a super cool girl my first week of school. She looked totally urban like me and seemed to be longing for friends as well. Turns out, I had befriended the class Wiccan. I had no qualms with it. She was probably the most authentic chick I had met that year but as you can imagine, we were constantly asked if we put spells on people and ridiculed. To set the record straight, I am and have always been Christian, but I gravitate to those who walk to their own beat and my new friend not only walked, but danced to her beat. On top of that, I have always had Psoriasis on my elbows and when I am super stressed, it flares up. Can you imagine the things those kids would say about me? I was in a high stress situation, my elbows looked like granola, and I found myself constantly making excuses for what it was because I was ashamed. The girls at school took their evil to a new level with this one. They began telling people “I was on my elbows a lot” if you know what I mean. They were saying these things about a girl who had never had a boyfriend at this point, had never even talked to or kissed a boy! Needless to say, I went back to Chicago.
Fast forward two years. I decided to give Mississippi another shot, this time I learned how to do make up, changed my style to white shorts and polo tops, purchased an assortment of bows for my hair, learned how to use a curling iron, and studied up on the popular brands. I entered that high school with my head held high and a forced confidence. Wouldn’t you know, the girls that used to torture me had not remembered me! They were super excited to show me the ropes. Instant friends! (I looked for my sweet Wiccan friend as we had lost touch but never saw her again. I think about her still today and wonder what she is doing. I can’t remember her last name :-/) I learned that day that it is not about who you are, but how you are perceived and what you can present to other people. It’s a sad journey when you walk every day for everyone else.
I don’t know what happened but just this past year, something snapped. I finally became exhausted from trying to please the world and decided to nurture myself and live free from judgement. I still strive for the best but only because it benefits me and my family, not because I want to prove something. I decided to close several businesses, stop being a YES woman, be more transparent no matter what judgement is passed upon me, and to go after the things that I truly enjoy. Of course these things stirred up tons of speculation about me and my life but I live free from judgement. This obviously doesn’t mean that I am not judged, I have just chosen to not let it effect me. It seems that those who judge have even bigger underlying insecurities. I will say a prayer for them and move on.
Free from Fear
After the death of my brother, I have become terrified of dying. This has nothing to do with actual death, but the fear of leaving behind my boys and not getting to know them at different points in their lives. I will never know what my brother is like with a wife or kids. I will never know how he would be when our children are grown and we all take family trips, or when our end is near, how we will be there for each other. Death took that from us. I am afraid of being taken. I am constantly watching my back, it is a paralyzing paranoia at times that has only gotten worse since having my boys. I always feel like a target. I am so afraid one of my boys will drown. These are just a few of my big fears, but why live your life this way? I can’t help what makes me afraid, but I can take precautions and prepare myself in case I am ever face to face with my fear. We all know that only God can determine when our last breath will be. All I can do is make sure that I take ever opportunity to teach my boys about the Lord, to video our time together, to make memories and let them know they are loved. I can’t avoid my end, but I can make sure the impact of my life and love is felt always with the ones I love. I also decided to learn how to use a gun and signed up for martial arts so that I can protect myself and family from intruders. I can’t control the atrocities that people will commit against others, but I can be prepared! I give repetitive lessons to my boys about the dangers of water and always bring a life jacket when we are going to be around water. Even when we are standing on a water bank fishing!
Fear is a real thing and I am not trying to discredit it. It is your inner-self-caution making you aware and alert to the dangers of this world, but you don’t have to be shackled to it. Equip yourself and the ones you love with safety but don’t avoid life because you are afraid. Honestly, I would rather never go on a boat with my boys because of my fear but this would be depriving them from a childhood memory with their mom that I loved so much when I was a child. I choose to live free from fear.
Free From Mental Constraints
There are so many things that I have wanted to do but felt like I couldn’t because I wasn’t trained from a young age or felt like I am too old or not physically fit enough. Now, I know we may have bodily issues that would prevent us from doing the physical activities that we have always wanted to do, it is hard to imagine that if you have had back surgery, you could be free from physical constraint, but the mental portion of this thought, is that you free yourself from your own minds limiting attitude. Stop limiting yourself because of your perception of you and your body. I want to try hiking and work my way up to day hikes. The problem is I am horrible at cardio and seem to loose my breath after a half mile of continuous walking on non-flat surfaces. I want to be able to hold some majorly flexible yoga poses that seem nearly impossible for me to achieve at this point in time. I have decided to take charge and train myself to achieve my physical goals. I am not going to chalk it up to being too old or that my body can’t simply do the things I could when I was 20. I am living free from mental constraints. I never want to pass up an opportunity because my mind tells me that my body can hack it. Don’t let experiences pass you by! Live FREE!
I have gotten a few Mantra Bracelets to help me to remember my freedoms, loves, and goals. Check out Mantraband.com if you want to do the same and make the change today. LIVE FREE!