Freedom. 7 little letters forming a word that can mean so much to some and conjure so much emotion in others. Here where I sit, I could never know what that word means to you or what kind of emotion it stirs, and maybe, hey maybe it conjures no emotion for you, but if I may, I would love to share here what it means to me – and I hope you might get something out of this too.
I believe Freedom to be exactly what it has always intended to be – the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.
Let’s go a little deeper on that though.
To me, the SINGLE HANDED most free’ing ‘thing’ in the world you can EVER gift yourself is not caring what other people think about you. Letting it ALL go. Knowing that their perception and opinion is just that, THEIR’S and it’s shaped by their own life experiences and beliefs and values. And that’s ok. My favourite quote is “it’s their stuff, not yours”.
I see it everyday. In every way. People desperate to speak up, to act out, to have a voice, to laugh loudly, to share a positive message – and yet they are so frozen in fear of what other people might think or say or how they might be perceived, they stop themselves. They stay silent. They muffle the laugh. They choose to not spread a message dying to come out.
You have to understand this though and understand it well, if you are one of the extremely lucky ones to live in a free country with free speech – to silence yourself is a heartbreaking choice.
Some of you may be thinking, who am I to bring this truth to you, and I SHARE this truth because I have lived on both sides. Giving away my freedom and now reclaiming it back and knowing I have the power and right to act, speak and think as I want.
I remember it well. I was 23 and I really started to ‘change’. I didn’t want to have all my conversations with my friends revolve around other people anymore. I didn’t want to be so negative and anxious all the time and so I started to change. I read more books and went on a huge journey of personal development. I started to become who I wanted more to be – positive, happy, I wanted to share the inspiring quote on facebook with the most loving of intentions, I wanted to share the journey I was on.
Like all people will experience many times in their life though, I had people in my networks that really didn’t like I was changing. So they would be extra negative and berate if I tried to be positive.
They tried to take away my freedom and right to act, speak and think as I wanted too.
Luckily I never listened, for long. Initially, it hurt, I got angry and upset and almost let them stop me for a whole…hour. And then Morgan my amazing husband clearly with much more wisdom and insight than me said “are you really going to let these negative opinions dictate your future – GO AND BE SUCCESSFUL REGARDLESS”. So, I stopped caring what they thought of me, I realized it was none of my business, it was THEIR stuff, not mine and finally took those steps for the first time in my life, it was the greatest gift I could have ever given myself. It was the very definition of freedom to me. I had never felt more free.
I know if I had of cared what other people thought of me I would never, ever, ever be where I am today. No way, no how.
And it didn’t just happen when I was younger either. At 25 I joined a network marketing company and wanted to get my health back on track with their world class nutritional cleansing products.
I was so excited. I was ready to grow again, to try something new, to be positive and make an impact. But again, people in my networks didn’t like that I had chosen something so, so different.
They didn’t like that I was again, changing – which you HAVE to understand is incredibly crazy when it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else but yourself when you ARE going through a change in your life.
I was told I was crazy, an idiot, I was questioned by girlfriends who thought it was all a façade saying, ‘as if you’re really that grateful and happy Anna’ – it was like they needed me to actually not be getting ahead and to stay stuck where I was. I lost friends over it, their doing, not mine. I was mocked, bullied viciously and publicly vilified.
All because I chose to again make a choice to better myself and move myself forward.
These people, tried with all they had to take away my power and right to act, speak and think as I wanted to – they tried to take away the very definition of Freedom, in a free country, with free speech.
And guess what I did? I again didn’t listen. I didn’t care for 1 second about their opinions. By this stage in life I had learnt that unless you are living the life I want to lead, of love and happiness, of contribution and making something of yourself – I wasn’t ever going to listen to your opinions and I certainly wasn’t going to care what you thought of me whilst I set out to live my own life.
Paying zero attention to the opinion and judgement of others is ALWAYS done in a loving intention as well, it’s never, ever a “I don’t give a f what you think” .. ever. It’s a “I love you for where you’re at and what you think of me has no bearing on who I am or how I will live my life” – the greatest thing of all now though is I don’t even have to actually say that now, because to defend an opinion or judgement of someone is to give it energy, and to give it energy is unnecessary when you can continue to just go out and keep living your life of love and adventure.
Did it take me a long time to get to that stage? Yes of course, it is absolutely a muscle you have to flex and build and truthfully, there are still fleeting moments I of COURSE slip up (we are all human after all living a beautiful human experience).
The KEY to being ok with not worrying about what people think though is surmised beautifully in this quote – “in order to love who you are, you can not hate the experiences that shaped you”.
I don’t run or hide from my past – so NO ONE has power over me.
WHY on EARTH should you be ashamed or embarrassed or hide from what you did when you were failing forward (I still am and always will be), when we do that we hand over ALL of our power and of course get affected by what people think or say about us.
The moment you can honour every part of your past, good and bad, and be ok with it is the moment you start reclaiming some of your power.
Who you were back then doesn’t have to have any affect on who you are becoming or who you WANT to be.
So I want you to think about this, where in your life are you stopping yourself from saying what you really feel? Or doing what you really want? All from fear of what other people might think or say.
I have some news for you and I want you to really be ready to hear this – but….
you’re allowed to change.
You’re allowed to have been a crazy party’ier and now want to stop the drugs or alcohol and lead a more positive life.
You’re allowed to have never been sure about what you wanted and where you wanted to go and now found something you’re REALLY passionate for and GO for it.
You’re allowed to have been someone who has never had a clue about fashion and now loves to at least try to keep up with the trends if that is what makes you happy.
You’re allowed to have been someone who was really negative and an asshole and now actually like people and want the best for them (in fact if that’s you then I am cheering you on so loudly)
And guess what? You’re allowed to SHARE ALL OF THAT. You’re allowed to be excited by it. You’re allowed to want to go on that journey and not do it in secret. You’re allowed to say how you feel and enjoy the transition.
YOU’RE ALLOWED TO HAVE THE POWER AND RIGHT TO ACT, SPEAK AND THINK EXACTLY AS YOU PLEASE without anyone attacking or judging or bringing you down.
And if that happens – maybe those people aren’t ready to move in to the next phase of your own life and that’s ok too, just love them where they’re at, don’t spend time with those that make you feel horrible about yourself and keep moving forward.
I think you are remarkable the way you are – flaws and eff up’s and bad choices, silly mistakes and ALL and I know who you are becoming is a beautiful best version of you and you shouldn’t be afraid to step in to that power and share it, not for one second.
So love YOU and start understanding that what people think of you is NONE of your business and start stepping in to more of who you WANT to be but have been scared to because of what ‘others might say’ … remember that those who matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.
Cheering you on as you step in to who you were born to be, not who society has told you to be.