I recently spent a few hours in a courtroom and watched a judge hand down a guilty verdict.
The crime committed was severe and the defendants will be going to prison for many many years.
I’ve known one of these men for years as a close family friend. So when the sentence was handed down, I was overcome with emotion. I thought “What a waste of a life. He has so much potential.” Now he will be in prison for longer than he has been alive.
He will sit in a cold, hard prison cell isolated from the world, which will go on without him. His 5 children will grow up and become adults, all while their father sits behind bars in a prison hundreds of miles away from them. In prison, this full grown adult man will be told when he can eat, shower, exercise and sleep. He will be told when and if he can speak to loved ones on the outside.
Humanizing experiences like tenderness and empathy will be rare and maybe even non-existent for him.
In short, my friend will no longer have the precious gift of freedom. Unfortunately and very sadly, he squandered it.
And I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that this is true for many many other people.
Aside from the difficult emotions I feel about a good friend going through a tremendous ordeal, this whole incident makes me very thankful and mindful about my own freedom. But it also made me question the ways in which I too am squandering my gift.
- Whenever I impose limitations on myself and my possibilities, I am wasting my freedom.
- Whenever I let fear alone run my life and decision making, I am squandering my freedom.
- Whenever I allow negative thinking to control my actions, I squander my freedom.
- Whenever I allow the opinions and beliefs of others define my opinions and beliefs, I waste my freedom.
Freedom is usually one of those things that many people don’t appreciate until it is gone. And I made a commitment at that moment to make sure I am always aware of my freedom and its power.
Freedom is a powerful thing. It is transforming. Freedom, and specifically, an “ethical” freedom allows you to literally do whatever you want as long as you are not harming yourself or others.
You too are free, Lovebug, and that is a wonderful thing!
But here’s my question to you: What are you doing with your freedom?
What does freedom mean to you?
Think about things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t. Why haven’t you done them?
I hear from so many women who are waiting to do things because for some reason or another “now” is not the right time. They say “I can’t do such and such because….” or “I could never because….”
Maybe all of those thoughts are true…. Everybody knows their own situation best.
But maybe, just maybe, when you begin to acknowledge the freedom that you have, you begin to realize that some if not all of these types of thoughts are self-imposed limiting thoughts. And you begin to realize that you, in fact, can do anything you set your mind to. You might need support. You might need guidance. And you might need additional resources, but you are not a slave and your situation is not hopeless.
Freedom means there are always possibilities.
Your life is too short and too precious to put yourself in a box. When you do that, you might as well live in prison.
Let yourself out and be free!
In the comments below, tell me how you plan to honor your freedom?