The Meaning of Freedom

Freedom, Confidence, Growth.

This is the tagline we use at New Insights. Why? Because we believe these are the main personal attributes that our life coach training and our related life coaching programme can impart, build and develop.

But what exactly does it mean to experience personal freedom?

“The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.”

– Saul Alinsky

Meaning of Freedom

The Meaning of Freedom (continued)

 

Physical freedom

The history of human existence is, sadly, littered with instances of war, punishment, enslavement, oppression, control and domination. So it is no wonder that the first thought that usually comes to mind for most people involves a breaking of physical chains – or physical freedom.

Physical freedom – or the choice to live, work and play wherever and however we wish within the bounds of the norms of civilised society – is something that most of us are fortunate to be able to take for granted today.

Mental and spiritual freedom

Mental and/or spiritual freedom, however, is quite another story and it is this form of freedom that we refer to in our tagline.

Victor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and, more importantly in this context, a Holocaust survivor.

Despite experiencing physical captivity and the depravation and abject horror of life in a Nazi concentration camp, where his entire family perished, Frankl still exercised his mental freedom, namely the freedom to determine his attitude and spiritual well-being.

Frankl decided to give his existence in Auschwitz meaning by keeping a journal of his observations and experiences in the belief that it would ultimately help others prone to despair. This was to culminate in the publishing of his seminal book Man’s Search for Meaning.

Freedom is a choice

The point I wish to make by referencing Frankl is that even under extreme physical conditions where physical freedom has been lost, we can still choose to exercise mental and spiritual freedom.

Mental ‘captivity’

So why do so many of us who enjoy physical freedom, experience mental captivity?

The answer, I believe, lies in allowing ourselves to be dictated to by the demands of the hurly burly external world that we live in, to the point where we lose the spiritual connection with ourselves or our inner beings.

Contrast the life of a child with the life of an adult.

Children are in touch with their inner beings. Their waking hours are spent learning, developing, imagining, dreaming and creating – largely unperturbed by the world around them or how they are perceived by others.

Adults, on the other hand, become creatures of habit with their day-to-day lives largely dictated by the demands and pressures of their work, their commitments, their families, and society in general.

In this all too familiar coping mode, we adults easily fall prey to routine.

We lose the spark and creativity of our childhood years and, fearful of acting to bring about change less it may result in a loss of face, we slip into living life ‘on autopilot’, all the while hoping that something or someone else will rescue us.

Dependency and mental entrapment

This life of dependency is mental entrapment, the exact opposite of mental freedom.

The point that so many miss here is that mental entrapment is a choice, not something forced upon us.

Responsibility and mental freedom

A life of mental and spiritual freedom begins with a conscious realisation of the fact that you have the ability to design the life that you desire, coupled with a conscious decision to take charge of your life.

The next step is to learn to connect with your inner being (your spiritual centre, if you prefer) and to get to understand exactly what it is you need and want from life.

Then comes a more difficult step … committing to make the changes that you know, deep down, that you have to make to get the life you really want.

Taking control of your life requires you to stop focusing on how others perceive of you and start focusing on how you perceive of you.

You’ll know when you are on the right track – your emotions will tell you.

Inner conflict … or inner peace?

Inner conflict comes from living in accordance with what’s important to someone else. When you do so, you constantly find yourself pushing aside what you feel is important in favour of what you believe you ‘should do’ or ‘ought to do’.

On the other hand, inner peace results from knowing what’s important to you and taking the necessary action to ensure you experience that, regardless of how others might perceive of you.

Help is at hand

Few people who are experiencing mental entrapment are suitably equipped to step boldly out of their so called comfort zones (read ‘mental traps’) without assistance.

This is why life coaching is so powerful. It uses tried and trusted tools and techniques to help bring about the changes needed. It is a solution focused approach practised within a confidential, caring and trusting environment.

 

This is the official Blog for New Insights Life Coach Training. Find out more about life coaching and becoming a life coach here:

SA/Africa: http://www.life-coach-training-sa.com

UK/Europe: http://www.life-coach-training-uk.com

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13 Comments

  1. Chris Fyfe
    Mar 18, 2017

    Thanks Bill, this is very relevant for me at this time, as i am changing my mind set, still working up the courage to take the big leap of faith.

  2. Mariam
    Mar 16, 2017

    Hi Bill,
    I love, love, love this blog. It is insightful and resonates with me so strongly. Thanks for this insight. I often feel like that hamster on the wheel, always doing and forgetting about just being.

    • Bill
      Mar 17, 2017

      I’m so pleased. Thanks for the comments 🙂

  3. Khunju P
    Mar 16, 2017

    Great motivation as always. You always tap on my conscience. I really enjoy your blogs.

    • Bill
      Mar 16, 2017

      Thank you.

  4. Karen
    Mar 15, 2017

    I feel so grateful that my life coach and mentor, Brenda Eckstein, provided me with an invitation to “cross over.” I feel free and I am constantly learning and growing. The best part of it all, is that I discovered my true purpose and am now a New Insights Pro Life Coach who is “passing it on.” I was trapped in the corporate world but my experience of life coaching gave me the courage to take a risk, to leave my “cocoon” and, by taking “the road less travelled,” I have experienced freedom, confidence and growth.

    • Bill
      Mar 15, 2017

      Awesome – thank you Karen!

  5. Ian Houston
    Mar 15, 2017

    Thank you Bill for another excellent post.
    Related to the topic, I am re-reading 2 books in my personal library by Dr. Caroline Leaf namely ‘Switch on your brain’ and ‘Who switched off my brain’, which deals largely with the ‘chemistry’ behind that thought, which becomes that emotion, which becomes that attitude, which becomes that behaviour, and if, depending on our choices, we will be free or not.

    • Bill
      Mar 15, 2017

      Thanks for the book references Ian – sounds interesting!

  6. Michael
    Mar 15, 2017

    Thank you Bill,
    I have discovered that I have always held the key to unlock the shackles which I tied myself up with. I just needed to learn how to use it. Seems the application of knowledge is power. Thank you for the knowledge and the ‘how to’.

    • Bill
      Mar 15, 2017

      Thanks Michael. You are right in saying the application of knowledge is power. Knowledge alone is not enough 🙂

  7. Annie
    Mar 15, 2017

    Great blog post Bill. Sometimes we forget that we have a choice to be more free in our minds. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Bill
      Mar 15, 2017

      That’s our great strength (but when we forget it’s also our great weakness) 🙂

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