Ideas and resources to enhance your life.
It may seem strange to think that freedom is a fact of life and that it contributes to anxiety. But, you may have had those moments when you realized you could do whatever you want (within limits), and it scared you. Maybe you quit or almost quit a job. Maybe you applied for a job way out of your comfort zone or skill level. Yes. You can do it. Whatever it is, you are free to act.
Most of us don't really believe this. We think we are bound in more ways than are true. You truly are free, but most of us are too uncomfortable with this. People often tell me that they don't have a choice, for example, in work, or bills or relationships. THIS IS FALSE. You do have a choice. You may just be too scared to accept that. When you do realize it, though, it can be anxiety inducing. When you realize you can walk away from something it can scare you. That's why its tempting to believe you can't walk away; that way you don't have to be responsible for making that choice. Of course, not walking away is a choice in itself, and you are free to make that choice as well (and you will be responsible for that as well- more on that next time).
So basically, you are free to choose and to act in the world. That opens up a lot of options. That puts a lot of pressure on a person. That means you could make a 'wrong' choice. It also means that not choosing can be the 'wrong' choice as well. Yikes! Anxious much?
If you are at the point where you realize all of this you can probably relate to the fact that it can make you anxious. If you can't relate you are probably not reading this, you may have created your own prison and are pretending you are stuck.
What to do?
Firstly, I'm not a fan of harping on people's ability to choose and pressuring them into making choices. I dislike cliches like, 'you must choose happiness'. Life isn't that simple. Yet, the fact remains that there are options. Freedom can be viewed as a positive thing when you realize you have options. You don't have to stay where you are. You don't have to keep doing things the way you are doing them. You don't have to be in relationship with people if it is not good for you. You can even leave good relationships! You don't have to stay in debt. You can get further in debt! You don't have to buy things you don't need to impress people you don't care about.
Secondly, not doing anything about your situation is a choice in itself, which you are free to make. Acknowledging this is healthy. Self deception is generally not advised. The truth will set you free. Ignorance does not free you.
Lastly, freedom can provide hope. Life is meant to be lived. If you are worried about choosing wrong, the following may help. When talking to older adults, you will learn that people most regret the things they didn't do, not the things they tried and failed at. Taking a step in the right direction is worth it. Not taking any step is probably regrettable.
Disclaimer: the next post will be about responsibility. The third given in life is that you will be responsible. This actually ties into freedom directly, but I prefer discussing it separately. The disclaimer is this: you are free, but you are also responsible. Responsibility will put a damper on freedom, so don't go out and do anything crazy.