The month of February is filled with Valentine’s Day gift giving ideas and discussions which can be a fun and exciting time between loved ones. Many of us choose to share the day with beautiful purchases and visible demonstrations of love; while others choose to quietly express their affection or don’t celebrate at all.
Either way, we all have the wonderful freedom to spend this or any other day the way we choose. This idea got me thinking about freedom in general, and how many of us stifle ourselves and others from making certain choices or pursuing certain desires.
We can live much like a bird in a cage with the door wide open, and the opportunity to take flight; yet remain enclosed in the familiar. It can be scary to venture out into the unknown and navigate new territory!
Sometimes we stop ourselves from taking advantage of the liberties we could enjoy by believing the discouraging comments from others, or our own limiting thinking as well.
For example, many years ago I was having a conversation with someone who had many ideas and dreams for herself, yet spoke about them as if they were not possible to achieve. I inquired why she couldn’t pursue her dreams, and I was met with the following statement:
“It is all great to talk in platitudes but I have to make a living.”
Her comment really struck a chord with me because it mirrored back to me some of my own attitudes and those of others, when I first began making changes in my life. I talked to many people about life goals and dreams and while many responses were encouraging and supportive, others were not. One comment in particular really sticks out and is an unfortunate viewpoint:
“Creating the life we want is all a bunch of psychological mumbo jumbo.”
These outside comments or internal thoughts can really stop us from believing it is possible to make changes, and live the life we want.
It is definitely a reality that we need to make a living and our dreams don’t always fill our bank accounts right away. However, nothing says we cannot still pursue our dreams and goals while working somewhere else in the meantime.
For example, I went to college at night for many years while working a full time job because I had a goal to complete my education. At first, my mind told me I was too old or too tired and what was the use since I already had a good job.
However, in spite of this negativity and fear, I felt the fear and did it anyway. It wasn’t easy but I finished my degree, one class at a time. Then, more recently, I wrote a book entitled, The Right Relationship Starts with You, while working full time as well. It was a real challenge but I did finish it, one page at a time.
This is not to boast or impress anyone but to illustrate that there are ways to reach our goals and still be mindful of our present circumstances.
It can be very scary and a truly vulnerable experience to put ourselves out there, and try something new. For when we do step outside our comfort zone, the fear of failure can surface, as well as, concerns of appearing foolish or being full of ourselves.
However, we don’t want to let our uneasiness be an excuse for not doing the work required, and live in regret for not trying.
The discomfort of discipline is temporary but the pain of regret is forever.
Ask yourself if you are using the gift of freedom to the fullest. Why or why not?