I have a thing for freedom.
I don’t know exactly when it started, but I imagine that being on the “controlled” side of an extremely controlling relationship in my 20’s seared it into my emotional consciousness.
I learned that without freedom, the light of the world was dimmed, and fear dominated my life.
So once I freed myself, I became fiercely protective of my self-determination.
Which led to thoughts like:
- I don’t want to feel obligated to do anything I don’t want to do
- I don’t want anyone telling me what to do
- I don’t want to have to conform to a set schedule
- I don’t want to manipulate anyone
These beliefs have had a huge positive impact on my life.
Escape from Cubicle Nation is certainly a love letter to freedom. 🙂
But I have also learned that my interpretation of the value of freedom can hold me back, if I am not careful.
- Resistance to do anything I don’t want to do has led me to ignore unglamorous but important tasks
- Resistance to conform to authority has led me to ignore opportunities that could lead to financial gain
- Resistance to conform to a set schedule has led to inconsistent work patterns, which affects productivity
- Resistance to manipulate anyone or appear controlling has led me to underplay my strengths and gifts which affects my impact and footprint in the world
Do your values work both ways too?
- Does your commitment to excellence sometimes lead to excessive work hours and burnout?
- Does your commitment to family sometimes leave your own needs totally out of the picture?
- Does your commitment to creativity create resistance for anything that appears to be structured, whether it is helpful or not?
- Does your commitment to kindness lead you to allow people to take advantage of you on occasion?
- Does your commitment to nonconformity lead to intolerance of your own conformist relatives?
- Does your commitment to productivity lead you to ignore your friends, spouse or children?
- Does your commitment to adventure lead you to overlook routine responsibilities?
I am not relinquishing my commitment to freedom, for it is part of my highest calling.
I am going to look more closely at my working definition of freedom, to be sure it includes consistent behaviors that contribute to the highest expression of the value.
I am curious, have any of you have found a similar paradox in your most precious values?