Ever since I was a kid I have been aware of freedom or, often times, the lack of Freedom. It seems to have been a central theme in my life, starting out with spending my first years living in a tiny hospital bed … constrained and isolated (that was the way, back in the late 50s & early 60s when you had lungs that weren’t performing properly – not exactly a physically freed up little baby/child LOL).
My own belief is that we come here to evolve through human lessons (get a gift) and to fulfill on a mission/purpose (give a gift). Creating Freedom for myself has been a part of my lesson to evolve with and interestingly enough, has also been something that I somehow knew was part of my mission/purpose on this planet: to help others create their unique freedom also.
There are so many definitions of Freedom and so many kinds of Freedom that we refer to in language. So often it is freedom from our circumstances that we talk about. I have, over the years, come to know that, regardless of our external circumstances, the real freedom we all have access to, is our Internal Freedom.
I have even discovered that when we work from the inside out that we, may times, at best, can even impact those external circumstances in profound and positive ways. At worst, we can experience Freedom within ourselves, regardless of those external circumstances. Either way it is a win!
I have merged all of the definitions I have found for Freedom and, for my purposes, I define it in this way in this blog post:
Freedom is the state of being free from restraints, constraints, confinements and hindrances.
What the heck does that mean? Well, without dipping into a long drawn out philosophical discussion of Ontology (the philosophical branch that studies being) let’s just shortcut it some and put some on-the-ground, in-our-lives reality to it.
Two people when faced with identical circumstances will have a totally different way to respond and/or react to them. Why? Well it mostly has to do with that unique chunk of grey matter between their unique ears filled with brain patterns that act as a filter and dictate how they uniquely think, act and ultimately experience everything in their world.
Brain patterns will say things to us like, “ “Be careful.”, “I am stupid”, “I don’t understand”, “I am a loser”, “I never have enough”, “I am un-lovable”, “I an un-deserving”, I am un-worthy”, “I am not enough”, “I can’t trust anyone”, “Bad things happen to me”, “The world is a dangerous place”, “I can’t trust anyone”, etc. Once a brain pattern is set then we literally begin to see life through the “filter” of those brain patterns.
Where do those brain patterns come from? Many places … our parents (who may have gotten it from their parents), society, our culture, religion and because of things that happened along the way in life which we interpreted in a particular way and made up brain patterns to handle situations and life in general on into the future. They are incessant. They run our lives. We think we “think” but mostly the brain patterns do the thinking for us.
Also, they are mostly not a positive view of ourselves and the world. Many of the ones we have were created before we were 8 years old and were, at the time, designed to “protect” us. Good original intention just, at some point they no longer serve us. As a matter of a fact, they become the very things that limit us and strip away our freedom. Maybe you can spot some that sound like this:
- Your parents constantly warned you: “Don’t talk to strangers” (Their intention was good … it was to protect you and your brain filled it away as a self-protection mechanism. However, it makes it kinda’ hard to meet new people or sell our services in our businesses, now as an adult.)
- Some family member, in a spontaneous off-the-cuff moment, says, “That is stupid”, about as we were trying to share with them about something, we were proud of or excited about, at that moment. It may even have been directed at us like “You are stupid”. It may not even have been directed at us, but about something else going on in the room, at that time, that they were responding to. Nevertheless, we heard “stupid” loud and clear and we interpreted it like it was a fact and the truth about us. After all, it must be … they were the adults and they know.
From that moment we are, for ourselves, stupid and the rest of our lives we not only think we are stupid, but we are afraid people will discover we are. In our fear of other’s opinions or rejection, we either overcompensate by trying to always prove how smart we are (I have multiple degrees and enough certifications to wall-paper my bathroom in pursuit of proving myself) or we never share anything with anyone.
- One of our Grandparents would say to us, “Children are to be seen & not heard” or some other clever saying that was used on them, in order to keep us from being an anything-less-than-perfect child in public. We become quiet and, long past childhood, remain that way never expressing ourselves.
- You parents/parent leaves you with a relative to go on a business trip. They wanted you to be safe and well taken care of and you interpreted it as you have been abandoned or that you are not lovable since they left you and then you spend your life seeing everyone as abandoning you and knowing you will never be loved.
- A favorite teacher compliments another student on their answer to a question but doesn’t compliment your answer. You are so embarrassed and hurt and in that split second, you interpret it as you are not ______________ enough (smart, lovable, funny, you name it … whatever your little child brain made up in the moment).
In order to protect yourself, you became stuck with that interpretation and now never volunteer to answer anything in business meetings or groups coz’ you KNOW you are not _____________ enough. You prefer to be quiet than to risk the embarrassment or hurt.
- In your 6-year-old interpretation of life, at home, you “know” that your teenage brother seems to do-no-wrong and have no limits on what he does. He never gets scolded, roams freely and everything he does is met with adoration.
You, on the other hand, are scrutinized about everything, cannot leave the house without a million rules and clearly are not “the favorite”. You know it is because you are “a girl”, “the weak one”, “the one they never wanted”, etc. You spend your whole life feeling unwanted, weak and/or angry that you are a woman.
Now, I know that as humans we have had things like these happen to us. I also want to make sure that I don’t step over the fact that some of us have had oh-so-very-real physical, mental, emotional sexual abuse and neglect and had, by anyone’s definition, absolutely horrific things have happened to us. I am not trying to be-little the situations that created the onset of a pattern. I am simply trying to describe how a pattern gets formed.
Unfortunately, those pattern-forming moments were all very real in that moment, to each of us, no matter how horrific or benign they may seem in hindsight or to someone else. To a child everything is impressionable and real. A child will put the logic they have, at the moment, around things and file away their interpretations about life, others and particularly themselves, in whatever way they need to file it away, in their brain, to explain it, figure out how to handle it and protect themselves in the future. The original creation of the pattern has a survival and protection intention.
The point is that we created our brain patterns initially in response to something, at some point in life, whether it was sparked by generational/cultural/societal/religious beliefs or a one-off incident. The descriptions above, of how those patterns got started for several individuals, are real-life examples I have seen people uncover.
I have mentioned patterns that seem “negative” here so far, but patterns are patterns and even something that got filed away as something that seems “positive” can limit our Freedom down the road. Ask anyone who was told they were actually “smart” or “beautiful” or “special” or “perfect”. Sounds so good right? But IF the interpretation we make around that is that we will get taken advantage of or that people will only like us because of that or that we can never be less than special or perfect because of that … then welcome to a lack of FREEDOM from those patterns too.
Often, I have also seen that when people go back to the people who were involved in those situations, if the other person/people can even remember the situation at all, we will get quite a different story from them about what they thought happened. The dilemma is that we live our whole lives based on our interpretations and our solutions to those interpretations we made up in those moments. What started as perhaps a good protective solution in the moment, at some point, may no longer serve us but, it doesn’t just stop running.
See, those moments did just stop there. Unseen and unchecked these brain patterns, formed in those moments, perform as well …. patterns. Meaning: patterns repeat themselves … over and over … they are recurring … they become predictable even if not consciously seen. They become the filter with which we experience things. As we utilize the filter more and more then we see it more and more like the truth and interestingly enough we build up a body of evidence that it really IS the way it is and that we really ARE what those patterns tell us we are.
At some point this gets us to a place where: WE HAVE NO FREEDOM! We are no longer creatures of freewill. We are humans who are completely dictated by these incessant, never ending, always expanding brain patterns. We ARE stupid, We ARE confused, We ARE unlovable, We ARE undeserving, the world IS dangerous, No One IS trustworthy, People ARE out to get us. Then we walk around through our lives BEING stupid, confused, UN-lovable and undeserving facing a world where it is scary, unsafe, and we have to guard and protect ourselves constantly.
We are not FREE! And we can’t figure out why we can’t make relationships work or we can’t make money or we can’t be fully self-expressed or … or … or … The ugly part is we can’t see that our brain patterns are what is constraining us … those patterns are the wardens in our own personal jail.
Even worse, those patterns, in their quest for sustainability, will keep creating themselves and even protect themselves from being seen for what they really are. You may even have a glimpse of them but there seems no way out because of the maze they have created over the years. Sound like a scene from a sci-fi movie? Yep!
There is a way out! FREEDOM is available! Neuroscience has proven that we can, at any point in time, create new brain patterns (neural pathways). Tons of research is now available to show that, what was once thought just airy-fairy, mumbo-jumbo, about changing our lives, is true. We CAN alter ourselves and our lives … no matter how much our brains or even big chunks of the world may still tell us we can’t. It is simple … but not necessarily easy or instant (and we all so love instant gratification)!
Need to check any of this out for yourself? Look at any place in your life that it is just “the way it is” and doesn’t seem to ever move or has hit a wall … your marriage, your relationship to your parents/children/siblings/friends, etc., your job, your business, your bank account, your inability to find/follow your passions or dreams. I promise you that there is a brain pattern behind that.
It may look like the cause of your lack of Freedom is other person or the circumstance or the economy or … and I am not saying there are not other people and situations and things involved … what I am saying is that your reaction to everything outside of you is completely controlled by your brain patterns.
When you can change your views or perspectives or beliefs about you and your life and the world … when you put your key in the lock and open the door to that prison .. you are FREE to approach everything differently and different results will begin to show up.
Stuck with anything or anyone? Tolerating anything or anyone? Unable to produce any result you want? Consider that it is not the situation, person or thing that has you in lock-down. You have just forgotten that YOU are in control of your experience of FREEDOM. It IS an internal state of being. It is an inside <-> out job! Will you need to take new actions and do different things? YES! Can you? YES! Can you do it while letting those old limiting brain patterns run the show? NO!
“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” ~ Albert Einstein
Freedom is YOURS to have. You are not stuck with anything. You can create new brain patterns. You have a choice in how you see, act, react, think, feel!
If, right now, you hear your brain spewing a lot of resistance to this … maybe saying … “That is BS … I really can’t make money or learn that or overcome that or (fill in the blank).” Or screaming … “NO, it’s not true, every relationship I have ever had always looks like this”. Or repeating over and over … “It is him/her/them/the system … I have no say or control over that.” Then just observe the brain pattern’s complexity of built in survival techniques at work.
If that voice or those voices (I sometimes have had a whole committee LOL) in your head , at this moment, are in any way trying to convince you that YOUR particular circumstances are impossible to ever alter … then CONGRATULATIONS … you are now face-to-face with your own personal warden. Why is that good? Because, the first step to changing anything is to be able to recognize it for what it is. If you can see it then you can move it!
FREEDOM is available to you and starts with you freeing yourself up inside out. A brain pattern at a time. Step by step, onward and upward you can create a whole new reality for yourself through creating whole new brain patterns. It is possible.
Do I really believe this? Yep! My life is a product of continuously creating new brain patterns. Can anyone do that? Yep! I have worked with and seen thousands of people turn areas of their lives and even their whole lives in completely new directions. They are people from all kinds of backgrounds and circumstances, with all kinds of past experiences and of all ages.
It is NEVER too late. It can start NOW. It simply requires a commitment to do so and the willingness to take the actions it requires. If your current brain patterns tell you that you can’t then tell them to shut up or find someone to help you until you have created enough new patterns and have enough evidence that you are confident to go it on your own.
It is worth it … after all … this is your life we are talking about! You are either going to live it with FREEDOM or NOT!
FREEDOM = POWER!
As always, I love hearing from you. I invite your responses, comments, questions. I suspect, by now, that you have some FREEDOM Blocker brain patterns? Can you see any of them? Feel free to share anything you see!
Stay tuned: I am going to give you an exercise to help you spot those FREEDOM Blockers and even allow you to see the source of them in my next blog post!