Oh, you thought I'm a free person?

Of course freedom is about not having another human rule over you in a way that takes away from your healthy freedom of choice. But I really don’t think it’s only about that.

Freedom, or lack of it, feels extremely personal to me. I yearn to be free from all the things that bind me, control me, make me feel like I’m wasting my life away because I let myself be inhibited by them.

Which things? One of the main ones I’ve been thinking about today is feeling nervous around people, feeling the need to fit a certain role, always hoping to make the prefered impression.

The other day when I was very nervous about a certain meeting with a certain someone who I felt was more “important” than me, my friend kept saying to me over and over again, “There is God and there are people. God. People. God. People.” Two seperate things and all of us people are in the same category. If we can internalize that idea – they are just people – wherever we are, we will feel freed from the burden of impressing, acting and we’ll just be who we are. Yes, I would still strive to be as good a person as possible, but it would just be with the goal of being good, not mixed with feelings of wanting to impress.

Which brings me to another personal bondage: Questioning myself, if I’m good enough (morally, socially…). I always wonder if I’m being good enough in different realms of my life. I wonder if I’m being a good enough worker in my jobs, if I’m writing good enough stuff, if I’m a good enough daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, granddaughter… I take a ton of resposibility on myself and when I think of doing less, I start feeling guilty. Ah yes, guilt!

Someone just said to me, about this, that if I know that I’m a good person at my core, I can stop worrying so much and just live. He said I should “be myself to a fault” and then apologize. Sigh… if only.

I can go on, of course, because I feel like a ton of things bind me, but basically you get the point. I don’t feel free. My mind controls me, my inhibitions don’t let me be. My questioning of self haunts me. I spend too much energy on worrying and not enough time just being.

I just hope that over time I can find a way to move beyond these inhibitions and just go out there into the world and be Deena to a fault.

Happy holiday of freedom!

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4 thoughts on “Oh, you thought I'm a free person?

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  1. DEENA! How could you write stuff like this?!

    Haha, just kidding (you said to be kind on your FB status..;-)…I actually have the same fears, but I lessened them in recent years. How? I had to change my thought process, which is SO HARD. I had to tell myself I try my best, and that’s all I can do and then it is out of my hands. We can’t always makes things perfect because other people also have issues they are dealing with etc…

    For example – you might think you didn’t make a very good impression on someone you met, for example. But really they had a lot going on in their own life so they weren’t really focused on your meeting to begin with. It had nothing to do with you – you could have been the nicest, funniest, kindest person around.

    I think you should tell yourself – as long as I try my very best, that’s all I’m accountable for. G-d won’t see it any differently – this is what He wants from us. We can’t give more than that.

  2. This comment got me thinking in two different directions: physical freedom and personal freedom.

    1. You seem to be asking for a complete physical and personal freedom to behave and think as you wish. If we were to get a wish of behaving anyway we see fit, the world would be nothing but an utter chaos. I mean, it is a huge chaos as is, but imagine if there were no personal, social, communal boundaries that do limit us, and force to behave in a way that allows the world(s) co-exist in manageable ways. The world would quickly become “Every man is for himself/herself”, and the dark days would be upon us!

    2. If you were to get your personal wish granted, and alas no drive to wonder if you are being good, moral, hard working, and etc, there would be no incentive for you to grow anymore, refine yourself, and work on your character.

    I don’t think limitations (real and perceived) are bad. It is how we deal with them, experience them, learn from them, manage them that make a huge difference. Some of my limitations are real bitch to have and work with every day. But they are small component of the whole me, and while at times I wonder what the whole me would be like if some limitations weren’t there to begin with, I rejoice in here and now, and accept myself as I am. I call this realization of “being true to myself”, and to me that is what being myself to a fault is all about…..

  3. I remember I was part of a similar discussion at a Rabbi’s house once. We were talking about the definition of freedom. People said freedom means not being controlled by others etc. But then the Rabbi said freedom is also being free from oneself. Good luck figuring it out, and let me know when you do :)

  4. Melissa, you’re totally right.

    Jewess, I am not sure where I said anything about doing as I please. My intent was more what Melissa was saying, about trying your best and then letting go of the rest. I very specifically do not believe in the idea of “total freedom.” This supposed total freedom is not actually freedom to anyone. It puts the “other” in danger and does not give the person enough boundaries to live a healthy, productive life.

    I hope this answers your comment more or less.

    Jenny, being free from oneself… Interesting. Not sure what that means!

    Thanks, girls, for commenting. Check out my latest post about the elderly people I work with sharing their Pessach stories. Some lovely, some horrible.

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