Traditional notions of freedom have gone out of fashion of late. But there’s no denying that they’re fundamental to what it means to have a healthy and fulfilling life. We need to feel as though we can make some decisions of our own, independent of our family, culture, and society. There needs to be a level of autonomy in our lives where we’re able to explore who we are, without somebody else telling us whether what to do and how we should feel.
What Is Personal Freedom?
Personal freedom means being able to make decisions independently of harm from others, whether emotional or physical. Freedom is different from entitlement. Being free isn’t the same as getting other people to support your lifestyle. It merely means that you’re allowed to chart a course through life on your terms, expending your energy to get to where you want to go.
DTSS freedom talks about this in detail. The organization points out how many of us are beholden to existing structures in our societies and that we need to abandon these – at least in our personal lives – and take what freedom we can.
Thus, personal freedom could involve something as dramatic as moving to a different country, or as simple as standing up for yourself in an abusive relationship.
How Do You Get Personal Personal Freedom?
So what can you do on a practical level to achieve personal freedom in your life? How can you make it a core part of your lifestyle?
Make Yourself Valuable
Unfortunately, nobody is going to grant you freedom out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s something that you have to earn.
When you see people with real freedom globally, it is usually because they’re extraordinarily valuable. For instance, Brad Pitt doesn’t have to worry about things like restrictions on air travel or commercial flights. Neither does he have to concern himself with paying the bills or sucking up to his boss. Instead, he has the money and the means (and the private jet) to go and do whatever he wants. Now, that’s freedom.
You don’t need to imitate Brad Pitt to achieve freedom. But you do need to create a modicum of value economically. The rarer your skills, the higher the price you can charge, and the sooner you can escape the rat race.
Understand Real Value
Understanding real value is another trick you can use to get closer to personal freedom in your life. Many of us go through life, believing that the rest of the world owes us something. We demand education, health, and the right to be treated with dignity.
Sure, all those things sound great. But other people won’t want to give them to you unless you have an understanding of what real value actually is. Political notions like rights and entitlements are, unfortunately, abstract. What others in society really want to know is what you can do to make their lives better. That’s the real value of you as a person – at least how they see it. So once you crack that psychological nut, you’re ready to move forward. When you do something valuable for others, they reciprocate. It’s human nature. Just look at the adoration great artists receive. People want to show their appreciation.
Take Ownership Of Your Life
It’s psychologically enticing to cede control of your life to others. In the short-term, it reduces your anxiety and passes the responsibility over to somebody else. In the long-run, though, it can leave you feeling powerless and as though you don’t have any genuine control over what happens to you.
Taking ownership means accepting that you have the power to change the essential aspects of how you spend your time. For instance, you’re free to start and end relationships. You can switch jobs. And, barring COVID, move to a different country.
Don’t Ask Permission
Many of us go into adult life, believing that we have to ask permission for everything we do. We don’t. As adults, we’re autonomous and able to make our own decisions, whether in our personal lives or the professional world.
People will often try to stop you from doing things based on how they feel. But ultimately, the buck should stop with you. So long as you’re not doing something that hurts others, you should be free to do it. You don’t require the approval of others to make your way in life. Surrendering that right can leave you feeling trapped – and that’s not what you want.