Image by The Real Darren Stone via FlickrFreedom is the desire of every human heart in this world. We all wish to live life freely. However, as life progresses we realize that we are either a slave of our situations or a slave of people’s expectations. We find ourselves buckling under the pressure of situations and pressure of expectations that others have from us. When this is the reality of life how can we possibly enjoy freedom while at the same time maintaining our relationships and handling the situations?
Well friends, there is an easy way to find your inner freedom. However, before we proceed to understand this way to find the inner freedom let us consider the example of a married couple who have a 6-month-old baby. The husband works in the office and wife is a stay-at-home mom. Now let us consider a situation where husband comes back from office after a very challenging day and he is very tired. Now since the wife takes care of the baby single-handedly all day long she too is tired by the time husband returns from work. So both of them are tired and both are resting after having their dinner when the baby suddenly starts crying. Now in this situation, husband who is already exhausted and is willing to sleep expects his wife to attend to the baby. At the same time the wife who is also tired and had been expecting that she will get a break from babysitting after her husband comes back, expects her husband to attend to the baby.
So here is a situation where both have expectations from another. Both of them are waiting for the other one to take the necessary action. Now let us assume that finally understanding that the husband is not going to move the wife gets up and attends to the baby. Though she loves the baby very much as a mother but as a wife she also expects her husband to care for her. So though on the one hand she attends to the baby but she also starts “feeling bad” and develops a grudge with her husband that is reflected in her behavior. Now the husband too loves the baby as a father but as a husband expects his wife to understand the stressors that he has in his work life because of which he is tired and unable to attend to the baby. So when he observes that his wife is annoyed with him he too starts “feeling bad”.
So no matter whether one fulfills the other person’s expectation or his own whichever choice one makes i.e. in this example whether to attend to the baby or ignore and expect another to do it, there is a sense of pressure on both due to the situation and also due to the expectation of the other person. So in such cases if we act according to our own preference, we feel displeasure of others that makes us feel bad and if we act as per the demand of the situation going against our own preferences then also we are not happy. So how can we feel free in such situations? Free of all conflict, guilt, or pressure. How is that possible?
We can feel free only if we go beyond our ‘bad feelings” after we have made the choice, no matter what choices we make. If we feel bad in both the choices then what needs to be considered is the feeling behind each one of these choices. So how this “bad feeling” can be changed?
Well, in order to move past these “bad feelings” we need to move past the identities that cause these feelings.
What are these identities? There are several identities in each one of us. However, in most of such cases we mainly live from the identity of being a victim. Also, if one lives from an identity of being a victim he will certainly act like a tyrant at another point. So being a victim and a tyrant are the two sides of the same identity.
However, all this happens at the subconscious level and we are not even conscious of this process. So how can we get liberated from these identities that are not letting us feel good with whatever choices we are making and make us feel like a slave to people and circumstances?
Well, in order to answer this question we first need to ask another question and the question is what will happen if both do not feel like a victim.
If the wife does not feel like a victim she will take care of the baby without feeling bad. This will shift her focus from herself to her husband and she will automatically be able to sense his exhaustion. In which case she would not be able to view her husband’s inaction as his insensitivity towards the baby and herself. At the same time if the husband does not feel like a victim he too will be able to sense his wife’s exhaustion as a cause of her reaction and not her insensitivity towards him.
The important point is that when we feel like a victim we feel this kind of a strain in relationships and end up either losing relationships or our freedom to make decisions based on personal preferences.
So if we get liberated from this identity of being a victim, we can really be free and give others their freedom as well.
In order to be liberated from these identities, the first step is to become “aware” of this kind of an identity in you. If you become aware of this identity then you will also be able to see that how bad and low the identity of being a victim feels. When you realize that this is a bad feeling to be in, you would certainly like to move past this feeling. If you are able to move past this feeling of being a victim, you will automatically be able to move past the guilt of being a tyrant. This would also release you from clutches of people who might be acting like a victim all the time and holding you responsible for their suffering. This would enable you to make free and fair choice based on your preferences. In other words you will discover your inner freedom.
So in order to liberate you from the bad feelings or the “victim” identity let us do the following awareness exercise:
1. Identify if you sometimes really feel like a victim in certain situations.
2. Focus at how bad it feels. Write the name of the emotions that you feel when you feel like a victim.
3. Read the list of emotions 3 times to feel it all over again and let it sink in your awareness that how bad is it.
4. After reading the list burn the paper and just let it all go.
Friends, this is just one of the exercises and there are various ways of releasing these emotions (Like EFT, regression, counseling etc. to name a few). However, the most important thing is to become aware of your emotions and accept the responsibility of releasing the ones that are not letting you experience the inner freedom and joy that comes with it. I wish all my readers increasing freedom and joy with each passing day.