Most of us go through times in our lives when we learn to live inside self- imposed prisons of our own making and sometimes triggered by the way other people treat us.
For instance, low self-esteem can cripple our ability to function effectively and have an impact on the way we do life.
Social withdrawal and self-neglect can be outward signs of low self-esteem and sometimes there are more serious consequences including eating disorders and depression. However, a surprising number of people don’t think they are worth very much and spend a lot of time trying to bolster or change their perception of themselves by adapting their body image, going on crash diets, doing drugs and getting involved in heavy drinking. Most of us have become experts on how to use various coping mechanisms as an aid to survival, finding ways of covering up the way things really are.
Restraints placed upon us by those around us can also be debilitating factors in the way we live our lives.
It’s one thing to have a healthy sense of responsibility for the people around us, it’s quite another thing to allow ourselves to be manipulated by others to the point where we feel imprisoned and trapped. A misinformed understanding of the unique value of every human being can have a huge impact on the way we live. If you don’t believe you are unique and have a special place in this world with a special purpose to fulfil, then life can become quite pointless and undervalued.
It’s certainly true that complicated family background and the way we were raised as children can have a long-term impact on our sense of self-worth, but we should not allow our past to dictate our future.
So here are my Ten Steps To Personal Freedom
1. Make an inventory of your life and count every blessing.
The old saying, “a pessimist sees the glass half empty; the optimist sees the glass half full and the engineer thinks that the glass is twice the size it should be,” can be applied to the way we live our lives. Take time out to think about the good things in life, not the negative things. Focus on the positive. That doesn’t mean we live in cloud cuckoo land and pretend that everything is OK when we know it isn’t. It does mean that dwelling on the positive can have a profound effect on our attitude to life, relationships, love and life.
2. Create your own personal space and spend 10 minutes each day in silence
Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular because people are realising that in our frantic lives, we need time to be quiet and be refreshed in body, mind and spirit. Having a time each day to relax and reflect can have a positive effect on our health and well-being.
3. Remember your value is counted in who you are, not what you do.
I was brought up with a conventional business diary and spent every waking moment trying to fill it with stuff. People too easily find their self-worth in what they do rather than in who they are. This is a big mistake and often the reason why people fall apart when they retire from working life. If other people only value you for what you do, they are not true friends.
4. Do not open the door to every opportunity that knocks.
If you are like me, you will have hundreds of files, eBooks, courses and business opportunities that you thought were a good idea at the time, but the reality is, you have never looked at most of them! Learning to be focused enables you to be free from the shackles of endlessly striving after the next big thing, and never actually hitting the mark.
5. Get the right people around you in supportive partnerships.
If you mix with negative people who are always complaining and moaning about everything under the sun, that attitude will rub off on you too. That’s no way to live your life. We are surrounded by bad stuff, things that can go wrong. But dwelling on these things will result in your life grinding to a halt and going nowhere.
6. Choose a mentor and speak about life and business once each month.
Find someone you can trust, and be ready for some mutual sharing of visions and dreams. This can be tremendously life-affirming, when you can find someone who relates to your aspirations for life and will encourage you to stay focussed and on the straight and narrow in order to reach your goals.
7. Set aside one clear day each week for relaxation.
It’s built-in to the way we function most effectively as human beings. We need at least one day off each week, that way your working and activity time will be much more productive and fruitful.
8. Don’t be afraid to fall in love – with the right person!
Love has become a dirty word in Western culture. It’s been cheapened by endless Soap Opera’s and “reality TV” shows. We so easily buy into the myth and end up in another self-imposed prison. However, finding love which is unconditional with someone who is your soul mate, is a wonderful thing. Many of us have been hurt by relationships that went wrong. And this can prevent us from trusting anyone again. Don’t let negative experiences affect your openness for mutually loving relationships.
9. Set aside 10% of the money you earn for charity
Seriously! Giving money away to a reputable charity is hugely beneficial, not just for them! There is something very therapeutic about giving with a generous heart to those less fortunate than us. Not giving in a patronising way, but giving out of genuine care.
10. Go on a 2 week Short Term Mission Trip
If you feel trapped by life, take time out to go on a Short Term Mission Trip to a developing country. It will change your life. There are loads of opportunities out there, just make sure you choose a reputable mission agency, which will give you proper orientation training, ways to operate in a different culture with respect and sensitivity.
I could go on! But it’s time to stop. Please read my other articles about self-help and life coaching.
See my Coaching For Life Videos here: Coaching For Life