Let’s talk about freedom. We all want freedom, I believe. But do we know what freedom means to us. Have you asked yourself such question?
The most simple definition of freedom, found in the internet is that: „freedom is the power to act, speak or think as one wants.” I would make it even more simple: „freedom is a power for one to be as it truly is.” Are you in the world as you truly are? Do you know who/what or how you truly are? Can you fully express yourself without fears, restrictions, injunctions or do you compromise yourself, because of what society says, what government says, what people around you say?
Sense of freedom, like everything, starts within and I believe many of us feel free deep inside ourselves. However, I am sharing my perspective and experience, because I feel that I can’t be truly free in the physical reality if, according to the current „rules” I am not able to go for a walk without reporting it, almost like asking for permission. Is this freedom? Well, to me it is not. No matter how free I feel myself in my heart, I feel like a criminal when I want to do the simplest and most important things for myself. And I really don’t like this feeling. I am not a slave, nor a criminal, nor a mentally disabled person (I use this expression on purpose- because very often mentally disabled persons are not able to decide for themselves and need someone to make such decisions for them).
I decide for myself and take responsibility for my actions. Because I am an adult person.
Taking responsibility is a crucial aspect of freedom in my opinion. What does responsibility is? Well, it wasn’t easy to find a definition, as most of them refer to blame, which might be interesting to some extend how it is perceived, so let’s take those from lexico.com: 1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone. 2. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something. 3. The opportunity or ability to act independently and take decisions without authorization. A thing which one is required to do as part of a job, role, or legal obligation. Number 1 and 2 are quite interesting though.
To me responsibility is: knowing and acting in the range of one’s area of control/ influence and handling all the consequences of taken actions.
What happens, when someone tries to decide for us, imposing their ways of thinking and behaving on us, and what is even worse, executes them in an oppressive manner? And how the scale from the picture behaves? Where is the power then? On which side?
If someone decides for us, as you may imagine, the responsibility scale goes up, but then the freedom scale goes down accordingly. If someone knows better for you than yourself, should also take over the responsibility. And when ones take over the responsibility, it always tries to impose its own way of thinking and behaving for a simple reason- to have more power, that means your power. But no one knows what is best for you, what you need to in order yo grow and be happy. It is only you who knows that, but you need to ask yourself these questions first. Moreover, when someone takes over your responsibility, responsibility to decide for yourself, it takes also your power as a sovereign being. Because if you are an adult, you have all the necessary abilities to be and act as a responsible person, who stands in its power. Otherwise, your power is in someone else’s hands.
I like using transactional psychology as example. The concept of transactional psychology was created by Eric Berne, who has discovered that the way we interact with others refer to three main generative roles, which are: the parent, the adult, the child. We all have them and we all use them, because we need them. I intentionally refer to each role in a neutral manner, using „it” article, in order to avoid any kind of gender reference.
The parent is the one who takes more responsibility, as it carries one for itself and for the child and that is ok as long as the child is till in the process of growth. The adult takes responsibility only for itself and the child takes very little or no responsibility, because it is not able to do so, as it is going to learn it from the parent in the process of education. Both, parent and child, have also different types of aspects, which could reflect either positive or negative traits, however what is positive and negative is always contextual, never black and white. For example, the parent, who’s role is to set the rules, help to set a child its boundaries, give guidance to a child by own example, in other words, to raise the child and prepare it for adulthood, could become also a controlling parent with set of rules and orthodox fundamentals only because the parent thinks this is best for the child. Such attitude however, does not take into account the child’s individual personality, therefore is not able to help it to grow and bloom according to its natural abilities, talents and needs. The parent needs to open to child's needs and help it to tap into it's true Self. There could be another trait of the parent- the excluding or avoiding parent, which is the one who takes less responsibility than should, it simply avoids it and therefore is not able to raise a child into the healthy adult. As it is not able to provide a balanced example. In such situation the child takes over too much responsibility, because the energy in the system always endeavours to balance itself.
For the purpose of this article, let’s take the controlling parent and its benefits, because there always are benefits, otherwise the mechanism could not function. What are they? For the parent of course as the parent’s role is predominant towards the child and therefore its influence is so powerful. The main benefit for the parent who keeps the child under control is a sense of power. Because control is about power. What kind of attitude can the child have toward such parent’s role? It can be obedient/complaint and follow all the imposed rules or it can be rebellious and try to break all the rules. Because one extreme (parent’s behavior) creates another extreme (child’s behavior). Only the healthy (free from extreme behaviors) parent can raise spontaneous child with its own boundaries and sense of own personality.
In some way, the systems, the governments work like that. The country is like a family and people who rules the countries are like the parents. The only difference is, that at least half of the population of each country is, I believe, the adults (age wise), mentally and emotionally is another story and unfortunately- no data available. Of course, every human, including a child has got all three aspects within and we need all them to operate in the outer world. Nevertheless, as most of the people are adults, shouldn’t they be treated as adults? Are we treated as such?
Does it sound familiar in terms of the current situation? Do the systems base on healthy responsibility roles or are they controlling and therefore abusive? Do you feel you can take full responsibility for yourself as an adult? Can you do it despite of all external circumstances or actually do you want to do it?
There is another aspect of the healthy parent role. The parent is also responsible for community, because, as we said before, the parent carries the highest responsibility level within. But where is the line between being caring and controlling? Certainly, we all want to believe that every parent wants best for its children and we want to believe that intentions are always good and probably in most cases they are, but we also know what is brick-yield with „good intentions”… Perhaps the main indicator to verify the health of the parent is actually how are the children?
It is considered that the role of an adult is the most desired role in societies. It is a core for and adult person. Thus only when an adult is able to take own responsibility, it can learn and grow and exchange with others from the position of own power and fullness. This is a bit of a simplification. Of course we need all the roles, but we need to experience them with awareness. Every adult needs to also experience its inner child, full of joy, creativity and expression. And every adult needs to experience its inner parent in order to know that on some level it is also responsible for others, for community, for greater good.
I believe the only way to freedom leads through responsibility and by taking responsibility we can be free. I believe that one does not exist without the other. And both needs to be balanced as the scale is very sensitive.
By taking the responsibility we stand in our personal power, we are adults. We can learn through our own experience and consequences. If we can’t do it, we lose our power and freedom, we give it away and obviously it will be taken over by someone who has power. There is no power without responsibility and there is no responsibility without freedom. All is connected. All require balance.
As always, we should start with ourselves. Our own power, own responsibility, yet when we do so, we can take the responsibility for the common good, because only then, we will be able to understand it.
Are we willing to take over more responsibility? Are we ready to be free? Are we ready to get our power back and how can we do it?