You are free. If you are reading this blog, you have a degree of freedom that means that you can make choices that affect your life – even if you don’t feel like you’re as free as you want to be. I’m not sure if anyone can really control their life anyway, so all you can expect is the freedom to choose some of what you do. But no matter what you can or can’t choose about your life, you can always choose how you respond to any situation that life brings.

You’re free to get mad or let it go, to go to work or not, to scream at another person or not…. Even if there are laws against something, you’re still technically free to choose to do this thing. Laws are there to make sure that we don’t use our freedom to hurt others, and I don’t suggest that you should break laws. I’m just pointing out that you are still the one who needs to make the choice to abide by the law. Warning: exercising your freedom in a way that others don’t agree with can bring unwanted consequences.

You’re completely free to screw things up, not ask for help and become bitter and selfish. And even once you’ve done that, you’re still free to change how you do things and try again. You’re free to do things that you’ve never done or that you don’t know if they’re acceptable for someone like you. Or, you’re free to decide that you know who you are and what you like, and you don’t have to try to be someone else.

It’s easy to focus on the restrictions you have, on all the things you can’t do, and on the things that for one reason or another you feel like you have to do. But once in a while it’s interesting to think about what would really happen if you decided to do something different. Do you really have to do that thing, or is that someone’s expectation? Or your own?

Sometimes it can help to think about what it really means to have your freedom removed. We can get a little out of perspective when we think that oppression is being told we can’t smoke in a pub, or that littering is not OK. That’s not loss of freedom. That’s civilisation, the way that we all choose to respect each other instead of the old custom of killing anyone who gets in your way. Real loss of freedom happens when you can’t choose anything about your life – someone owns you, keeps you trapped in a house, controls you, makes you work until you get sick and then makes you pay for your own doctor out of the pitiful wage you get. Yes, this is a real thing, and it’s slavery. There’s no way out, you have no power to make changes in your life, and it’s not OK.

If that’s not you (and I’m guessing it’s not, likely), then you are more free than you think you are. Most of what is holding you back is within you – either your own limiting beliefs about yourself, or a fear of how someone will think of you if you make a particular choice. Don’t get stuck within restrictions that are put on you. The choice is almost always yours to make. And even in the times when you are less free – they can’t decide how you will react internally. Nobody can control that but you.