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Freedom in connection

Do you feel the freedom to stay with your own truth, to make the choices you need to make, and do the things you need to do?

The ultimate freedom!

All my life, I have been looking for freedom.

I used to put a lot of value in having the possibility to do whatever I wanted. I did not want to have to ask for consent., I wanted to go where ever and whenever I wanted. I did not want to take others into account when making a decision. And worst of all, I did not want to deal with the hurt someone else received from my actions.

This might sound selfish, but until about 15 years ago, this was my understanding of freedom. Freedom was about me, about no circumstance or nobody limiting me in whatever I wanted to do or have.

A lot of freedom was taken away from me when I was a child in a very nuanced way, though. I could play with whomever I wanted, I had everything I needed, and when I started to go out, I never got any curfew. I was trusted to do the right thing.

The freedom I didn’t get was the freedom to feel my own feelings, the freedom to express my own needs and emotions, and the freedom to find and explore my own independence. I had to be emotionally available for my mother to give her what she needed. I had to take care of her. This was my task to get what I needed; her ‘love’ and attention.

When my mother died in 1991, I was devastated, but I was finally free. I had all the freedom in the world and had no clue what to do with that or even recognize this freedom. So my search began…

To feel free, I made sure I removed all the possible constraints from my life.

When I had a girlfriend, I felt great until it became serious, and my anxiety was triggered that I lost my freedom. I would either break up or sabotage my relationship so that she would break up.

I got a job with lots of traveling alone, so I could do things the way I thought they needed to be done and didn't have to discuss, agree and compromise.

I traveled a lot in my holidays. Just me, with a ticket, a Lonely Planet guidebook, and a backpack. Nothing else. Ultimate freedom! Yeah right…

Freedom in connection

During a trip in 2003, I found myself in the middle of nowhere, on a beach on the island of Phú Qhóc in Vietnam. Beautiful white sand, palm trees, no phone, no internet, unlimited views, and no people for miles. I could almost taste the freedom I was looking for… for a few seconds, that was, until I felt being in the same jail as I always was.

There it dawned on me. Freedom is not about removing external limitations; freedom is to be found inside me. I am the only one that creates the jail where I feel locked up. I am the one limiting myself from feeling my needs and expressing them. I am limiting my choices and withholding my energy and emotions.