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How Are You Limiting Your Freedom?

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How Are You Limiting Your Freedom?

Your Freedom Is Priceless – Don’t Give It Up For Approval!

What are you doing that you don’t want to do, or what are you not doing that you really want to do – to get approval or avoid disapproval?

“…no one ever pushes you toward freedom. You need to take that for yourself.”
–Joan Erickson, wife of psychologist Erik Erickson, quoted in Joan Anderson’s book, A Walk on the Beach.

Do you believe that someone has to give you your freedom? Do you believe that you can be free only when you have others’ approval? Is your sense of freedom dependent upon what others think of you?

If you believe that your freedom is dependent upon another or others, then you will wait forever to be free. You will feel free when you decide that you are going to do what feels right and loving to do for yourself, regardless of what others think.

How do you reach a place where you are willing to trust yourself enough to follow your own inner guidance rather than be limited by others? How do you come to a place where you are willing to experience others’ disapproval in order to be true to yourself?

This freedom comes from a deep place within regarding which intention is most important to you:

  • To control what others think of you, or
  • To support your own highest good.

These two intentions are mutually exclusive. You cannot be focused on trying to control getting others’ approval or avoiding their disapproval, while at the same time be focused on lovingly supporting your own freedom and what is in your own highest good. You automatically limit your freedom when your concern over what others think of you is more important to you than your freedom to be yourself and do what feels good and right to you.

Of course, it is challenging to trust your own inner promptings regarding what would bring you joy, and run the risk of losing someone who is important to you. But if that person truly cares about you, he or she will want you to do what brings you joy, unless what you want to do is likely to be harmful to you. For example, in the book quoted at the beginning of this article, Joan Anderson wanted to take a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru, but she was worried that her husband would be upset about her going. This is when her close friend, Joan Erickson, told her, “…no one ever pushes you toward freedom. You need to take that for yourself.” She took the trip and it was one of the best things she ever did for herself!

What are you wanting to do that you are not doing because you are afraid of someone else’s reaction – your partner’s reaction, your parent’s reaction, your children’s reaction, your friends’ reaction? How are you limiting your own freedom to control what others think of you? What are you doing in your attempt to please others that you don’t want to be doing? In what ways are you giving yourself up to get others’ approval?

How do you feel inside when you make what others think more important to you than your own freedom and joy?

Often resentment, anxiety, anger and depression are the result of not doing what we really want to do, not being who we really want to be – not being ourselves. Giving ourselves up to others may feel safe, but it will never feel joyous.

Right now, think about something you REALLY want to do and are not doing out of fear of disapproval. Or think about something you are doing that you REALLY don’t want to continue to do but keep doing to gain approval or avoid disapproval. How do you feel inside when you don’t do what you want, or do what you don’t want? Is it worth it?

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]

CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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