Are You Truly Free?
By Marilyn Tam
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
We are fortunate that we in the USA can enjoy basic freedom as a given. The things that bind us are more internal – the mental restrictions and “shoulds” that shape our thinking and our decisions subconsciously.
These subconscious constraints confine us to a fixed set of expectations and view of the world.
It locks us from truly being able to soar to our highest potential, inner peace and happiness. How can we break free? This is a three-step process. First by recognizing that we are prisoners of our beliefs.
Whatever we believe about ourselves and the world is what we are going to experience. If you are holding negative thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or “Bad things happen to me”, then that is what you are going to create in at least some aspects of your life.
No one consciously choose to hold limiting beliefs, and yet we all do to some extent. Our childhood conditioning, whether from family, school, other influential figures in our lives, or the mass media, often contain some negative programming. People’s intentions may have been good, but fear and limitation are commonly used to keep young, rambunctious and questioning children, and indeed all people, in line. We often take on the constraints set for us as a children, to keep us from achieving our full potential later on in our lives.
The second step is to examine your beliefs. Is it really true that you are only good at math, and/or that you can’t sing? Oftentimes we gather evidence to support these old convictions. You may say to yourself, I truly am only good at this one thing; I can’t carry a tune, or whatever. You have adopted these negative thought patterns and hang on to the indications that “prove” them. Yet we all have the potential to develop the skills or talents in areas that we are passionate about.
The third step to changing these self-perpetuating thoughts after we become aware of them is affirmation. Good news! It took years of subconscious repetition to ingrain the old patterns in your brain, but now with awakened consciousness, it will take much less time to instill new positive perspectives. Choose the ideas you want to instill in your mind, find evidence to support them, however small, and the positivity will grow as you continue to work on them. Ask others and read material for support if you need (and we all need to some extent), and reaffirm your new beliefs several times a day for at least 21 days.
Our minds need to develop new thought pathways separate from the old belief system. For the shift to stay, research has shown it takes 21 – 30 days of practice; a mere fraction of the time it took you to acquire the initial negative pattern. What a relief!
The key to keeping the resolve during the frequently challenging transition process is to remind yourself of why you are choosing to change. You were born with innate potential, as a child you had dreams; over the years limitations crept into your mind and now you have the opportunity to reclaim all of you. It is a choice that you are free to make. And you can start now.
You have the right to fully live your life mission, minus the constrictions of other people’s fears and expectations that you took on. Take the time and effort to listen to your own inner wisdom. The small yet powerful voice inside you, which may have been shut down or shouted over for so long, is there waiting to be heard. Foster it, listen and allow it to speak to you. Your life purpose is your guide, the north point of your personal compass to keep you on track as you go about each day.
Celebrate your small successes of positive thoughts, acknowledge your setbacks and learn from them. Each moment is fresh and you can start again. Freedom from old constraints is so worth it. I’m rooting for you!
Marilyn Tam is an international selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, humanitarian and former CEO of Aveda, President of Reebok Apparel Products & Retail Group and VP of Nike and the founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation.
Marilyn wrote her internationally selling books, “How to Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want” and “Living the Life of Your Dreams”, which won the Global eBook of the Year 2011 in the Inspirational/Visionary category. Her books and work have helped numerous companies and people globally. You can get more free insights and find out about Marilyn on her website http://www.marilyntam.com/books.html and connect with her on facebook