“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
About 10 years ago when I made the decision escape the life I was living and work on becoming the kind of role model for my son can be proud of, I didn’t like myself much.
I beat myself up, perceived a long list of frailties and shortcomings about who I thought I was. I blamed my circumstances, upbringing, parents and no doubt many other things for the perceived problems in my life.
I strived, pushed, got angry, depressed and went through a whole library of generally negative emotions that took me into victim mode – poor me syndrome.
It was completely innocent, I had no idea the misery, discontent and insecurity was a by product of my own psychology.
As far as I was concerned I was a lost cause, but fortunately I learnt that nothing (no thing), has ever caused you more suffering than your own psychology. [tweet this]
A Recipe for Misery and the Key to the Door
If like I did, you’re perceiving the potential for your life, through a list of imagined faults, whether you think something’s too big, too small, too fat, too thin, not smart enough, handsome enough etc you’re trapped by that idea.
Whilst ever you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never get what you really want, because you don’t think you deserve it. [tweet this].
Freedom Is An Inside Job
So if your life’s feeling difficult, you’re stuck or depressed, one of the keys to getting out of the hole, is seeing that the path to true freedom is freedom itself. It took me a long time to understand, that it’s not more stuff, a new partner, a new job, more money or even more effort that’s going to get you what you really want (what everybody wants) – happiness. It can seem like it helps, but nothing external can give you this. Freedom exists in every moment without the need to add anything.
This doesn’t mean to say a sense of freedom won’t require a job you love or greater wealth, I certainly want to improve my financial position. However if your desires rule you, you’ll find them difficult to achieve, especially if you don’t believe you deserve them.
Most people believe their past, their personalities and their circumstances are keeping them stuck so they look to ‘stuff’ to compensate their perceived shortcomings. But unless you choose freedom now, everything will feel like hard work. As Viktor Frankl explains in his powerful book Man’s Search for Meaning, above all else, freedom is a choice; it is a state of mind free from self doubt and insecurity. An experience available to anyone, yet unknown by most. It is the opposite of anxiety, anger, stress, confusion or any other negative state of mind that has it’s roots in fear.
Whilst a traumatic childhood, a poor education, a deprived neighbourhood or being broke are by no means ideal scenarios. If you’re blaming your past, personality or something external to you for your lack of success or happiness, you’re abdicating responsibility for the life you’ve created, giving up your right to freedom.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
Stop Striving to be Somewhere Else You’re OK
If you find yourself at a place in life that’s not what you want, perhaps it’s time to stop blaming and take responsibility. In my experience this is the only way to initiate the changes that will get you to where you want to be.
Once your inner experience is filled with strength, joy and abundance, the outer world will respond in kind. This is the game we’re playing here, transforming and expanding your inner experience of life. As Osho explains
“the struggle isn’t against nature; the struggle is against wrong nurture, wrong habits”.
It is what you keep doing that needs changing, not who you are. Life itself is absolutely perfect, but like the rest of the human race, no doubt you have some old habits that don’t serve you anymore. This understanding offers you an immediate sense of greater freedom as you realising the only thing that’s been holding you back until now is nurture, not nature.
I am curious whether you agree with this or if you’ve found this useful? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, please share them in the comments section below.
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