Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.
I’ve been thinking a lot about emotional and spiritual freedom lately. I agree with Rousseau that we are all born free, and I also agree that we allow ourselves to be emotionally, psychologically, spiritually enslaved. I think the reasons why we do this are multifaceted and complicated and outside the scope of this post. What I would like to explore here, is how we can shift our mindset from one of “victim in chains” to one of “person born free”.
A good place to start is blame. Watch your thoughts. How often do you slip into blaming the government, that bad driver, your clueless spouse or oblivious friend? When we blame we give up our power, and we inevitably become a quiet and victimized martyr for a while, and eventually many turn we turn into a tyrant—all stemming from a need for self-protection and self-preservation!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t name injustice and fight for freedom, but we should be careful not to let our soul be defined by another. Well, that’s the goal…and practically speaking this comes back to something I talk a lot about—boundaries. If I am unhappy with a situation or a relationship, it’s up to me to take care of myself and NOT be a victim. It’s pointless to sit in the corner ask why the other person just can’t be nicer to you. It’s up to you to demand proper treatment. The best holiday gift you can give to yourself this year is to stand up for yourself!
A very easy and peaceful breathing exercise is to visualize on the inhale—a big ball of light—filling you with freedom, power, and clarity; and on the exhale, letting go of any thoughts of being a victim or tyrant, or any other limiting thoughts that keep you from stepping into your autonomous and beautiful self!
Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays!