All of my life, I was looking outside of myself for freedom to be myself or freedom to be successful or even just the freedom to be loved. As a child, I witnessed that all of these came from external sources. The primary example I had was that nothing good came to me if it wasn’t granted by someone else.

I haven’t had the freedom I always wanted because I kept waiting to be granted it by someone else. I wanted someone else to tell me that it was okay to be myself or that I was successful. I wanted someone to tell me that even if every single person in my life or that I meet doesn’t love me, my love of myself is enough. I kept waiting and waiting, feeling like it never came.

It wasn’t ever going to come. The freedom I was looking for doesn’t come from other people. The freedom I was looking for couldn’t be granted to me by anybody but me.

I didn’t finally learn this until last year. I didn’t fully learn this until I quit drinking completely. I used alcohol as a crutch to be liked for so many years that I didn’t even know who I was, even if I thought I did. It wasn’t until my thoughts became clearer that I could process all of the personal development that I was learning.

I heard many speakers and life coaches say it over and over again, it all starts with you. It all starts with me. I thought I was starting with me. I thought I was leaning into who I wanted to be. I did, some. But my freedom came when I quit drinking and cleared my mind and have been able to lean into who I am without any crutch.

My freedom to be myself and love myself is growing. I am giving myself more freedom to be my loud self. I am giving myself freedom to learn how to have fun, be silly or ridiculous or whatever, and not judge myself for it out of fear that someone else is judging me. I am giving myself the freedom to truly share my shit-show of a family when people ask me if my family still in New Mexico or how many siblings I have. I am no longer hiding any of what I don’t like about my life because there is more freedom in owning it and acknowledging where I came from to get where I am today.

My freedom is truly coming from within. I am no longer looking outside of myself to be granted the freedom I so desperately wanted. I am the only one who can grant myself the freedom I crave and doing so is yet one more step-by-step process.

I grant myself freedom to be whoever I want to be and to be loved by myself first. I grant myself freedom to make choices that not everybody will love. I grant myself freedom to live a happy and healthy life by my design.

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