Thomas Jefferson (POTUS 4) once stated,
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” The president used this statement to give us a solution to civil liberty in our society. This statement is true in every sense. If you think of it, we can only be at liberty if we have a better understanding of our surroundings as well as social structure. While we have been striving to gain and protect civil liberty, to get the freedom from the captivity without, we’ve been sinking deep into another level of captivity – captivity within.
Have you ever felt that your life is great on paper but really bad in real life? Is your soul troubled? Do you feel that there is a big gap between you and the happiest you that you have ever imagined? Do you sometimes feel worthless?
If your answer is yes, then you must read along.
The reality is, you are not living your life, and you are living someone’s life. You have buried self in your wrong perception of who you are, and in other people’s needs and opinions about who you are. You need to become yourself.
The Two Levels Of Captivity
When we are born, we are subjected to two levels of attacks against whom we truly are. One of these attacks comes from societal structure and norms (external). These norms define who we are and dictate what we are capable of becoming and doing. If you are a young girl, born in a society that embraces biases against women, such society will directly or indirectly define the limitations of what you can do, what you can become, and how you should behave.
In the 17th century and the early 18th century, the women in the United States were not allowed to vote hence their rights to choose the leaders they believed to be good for the society were limited. Their profession was largely to stay at home and take care of children. They were not allowed in many professions.
All these were not because they love to live this way, but society was structured in this manner. If a young girl had to grow up in such a society, whether they like it or not, their capability will be restricted.
Just as President Jefferson said, it took advancement and diffusion of knowledge for people to learn that women also have the same rights and capabilities as men in many areas – that people are the same inside despite the physical differences such as sexual orientation or color.
The second attack, and the most dangerous one, is that which comes from within. This is where you set the limitations of what you can become, what you capable of doing. This attack is rooted in the misunderstanding of who we are. To some extent, it is defined by the external factors that shape our opinion about who we are. For example, if you use to fail in math, you may grow up to believe that you are generally dumb and lesser compared to other people.
True Liberty Lies Within Us
While we can deal with the first attack collectively as a society, the second one is more difficult to handle and requires personal effort. We must embark on the journey of self-discovery to understand our true selves. We must stop living a lie that we cultivate in our minds.
The first step to attaining personal growth is self-discovery. You must advance the knowledge about who you are (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and then use that knowledge to create a balanced life by building on your strength. When you understand who you are, you get to know the things that are getting on your way. You can become empowered to leverage the positive aspects of your life to help you in overcoming your limitations. You can also try out new skills and strategies that will get you better results in all aspects of your life. ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE AND GROW
Compassionate self-acceptance will help you to be more positive with life. The reality is, we are all created uniquely. No single person is exactly similar to another in thoughts, feelings, and even body size and shape – we are all unique.
However, one factor remains, that we all have an inherent value as human beings. It is this diversity that helps us to create a beautiful society where we interdepend on each other. If you accept this fact, then you will not have a problem that you are not the best basketballer in the world.
Stop blaming yourself for the weaknesses that you have. Identify them and devise solutions to curb them. Meanwhile, focus on your strengths and maximize them. You will help yourself and society at large.
Beware Of False Freedom
We are living in a Hollywood error, and nearly all of us frequently interact with the products from this industry. We watch movies, programs, TV shows, music, etc. The reality is, most of the Hollywood products we consume as a society are not intentionally designed to harm but to push some positive agenda.
We watch in movies themes of justice, we listen to songs with messages of love, and we watch documentaries about people’s lives that are inspiring.
However, there is a subtle danger that we face when we consume most of these products, especially when we are not aware of it. They place value on material things and people’s outward looks. We have grown up watching popular Hip-Hop stars featuring in a music video dressed in the latest Gucci products and driving a $100 million cars.
In the Grammy award, we watch beautiful female actors get to the stage, dressed in the latest and most expensive dress and jewelry. We watch in movies, rich characters who live in palaces located in islands with every good thing you may think of around them. We watch them fight tooth and nail to protect their wealth when threatened.
What all these things do is shape our thinking to believe that people’s worth is in the material things and their outward look. Therefore, we grow to believe that for us to have freedom; we must acquire such material things. This is a false freedom.
This false freedom will lead us to struggle until we die and never achieve true liberty. True freedom is that which you attained when you realize the inherent value that you possess. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Device remedies for your weaknesses and maximizes your strength.
Seek self-discovery and you will attain true liberty – a liberty that neither a person nor circumstance can rob you.