“Life is a narrative that you have a hand in writing.” ~ Henriette Anne Klauser
Freedom doesn’t mean being free from challenges in life. Freedom is the ability to make wise choices when challenges arise, whether internal or external. Our challenges are symptoms of what’s going on inside–our belief systems, thought patterns, and how we deal with live situations. And there’s power in understanding what’s happening there so you can take control and work it your way. That’s freedom.
On various levels, each of us suffers from negative messages about ourself, others, and the world. And inner turmoil runs the gamut from miner insecurities in particular situations to dysfunctional depression and/or anxiety. No one is left out. We’re all works in progress on our own individual journey of self-discovery. But we forget who we are and what our journey is about.
“Addiction enters when self love is traded for self limiting and judgmental thoughts.” ~Dr. Bill Tollefson
According the the World Book Encyclopedia, addiction is the condition of being a slave to a habit; strong inclination. And some of those habits may surprise you. We usually think of addiction as only involving substances, but it can be any number of thoughts, words, feelings, or actions we unknowingly slip into.
Sometimes a faulty belief system can lead to chronic focus on negative ‘self-talk’ about your life. And you feel lonely, insecure, unworthy, unimportant, going nowhere, inadequate, or even stupid, etc. And those behaviors become painful addictions.
“When I grip the wheel too tight, I find I lose control.” ~Steve Rapson
We either live with our faulty belief system or do something about it…and not always to our benefit. We seek ways to cope and relieve the pain, and some may grab onto food, alcohol, smoking, gambling, drugs, etc. But nothing works, and they become addicted to behaviors that add more pain to the original pain. But there must be a way out that leads to the freedom you long for.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ~ Goethe
You were born with courage and trust. So go within and ask your inner Voice to help you experience these qualities as you seek freedom. Then look within and begin working to uncover and change the core thoughts inside that led to bondage. Inner work is important, because those false messages about you that run around in your head cloud your self-image and you feel defeated. When you replace them with truth about you, you won’t need a crutch to hold you up. Denounce false messages and embrace truth.
Inner Work: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31,32.
1. Clarify and make a list of old false, negative messages that cause you pain…what you’re running away from. Examples: ‘You’re not important’, or ‘You don’t measure up’, etc. Use details.
2. Make another list of positive statements to confront and replace each false message with truth, even if you don’t yet believe the truth about you. Examples: ‘I was created important, and my life counts’, or ‘I am my own unique, immeasurable self’.
3. There’s much power in the words “I am”. Every time a negative message runs through your mind, replace it with a positive statement using “I am.” Example: “You can’t do anything right.” “I am usually successful in all that I do.”
4. When you finish your negative and positive lists, find someone you trust to work with you on changing your inner negative thinking to positive. Call on your God-given courage and trust to move your mountains and rise out of the darkness.
Outer Work: Inside is where we shape outcomes in our life, and changing what goes on inside changes the severity and frequency of what goes on outside. So doing your inner work will strengthen you to deal with any behaviors you need to face in your outer world.
You know yourself better than anyone, and you know what is needed to release bondage and embrace your freedom. So summon your courage to get the help you need–friends, family, groups, counselors, clergy, medical–any resource that can help lead you to freedom. You were born a beautiful child, and that child is still within you. Allow that child part of you to laugh, sing, dance, play, and help you be your true self in peace and love. That’s an expression of freedom.
One of the most powerful prayers I know is, “Change my life by changing me.” There is no other way to freedom.
I wish you freedom to be your wonderful self.
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of ” Silent Echoes & Me and Granmamma In The Hill Country”