While on a day-to-day basis we do not lose our freedom, I do believe that we sell ourselves far short of the freedoms we could have in life.

Some ways we push aside our freedom:

Procrastination. We are so very gifted at putting things off. The best cure I have ever found for procrastination is to put it off. That’s right, the next time you are tempted to procrastinate, tell yourself that you will procrastinate later, but right now you are going to get the jobs that need to be done, done.

Pleasing others. Pleasing others is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. It can be a good thing. It’s just when you can only please people, can’t say no, and do it at the high cost of yourself that it becomes a problem.

To create freedom:

Design a life worth living. Have you ever paused to ask yourself, just how would I like my life to be? What can I control and what can I not control? If I can’t control it, what can I at least influence?

Life coach Phillip Humbert has come up with some very useful ideas called “personal eco-systems.” That is is a fancy term for surrounding yourself with the things that make you the most effective. With what kind of people and in what kind of places are you the most effective? Do you work better in groups or on your own? Do you need music or do you need silence to concentrate the best?

Be the best you. Now I realize that sounds kind of squishy and new-agey, but it is really not. In the movie “You’ve Got Mail!” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, both actors play characters that are fighting desperately to not make the same life mistakes they have made in the past. Hanks types in an email to Ryan, “Have you ever thought you had become the worst possible version of yourself?”

Ouch! Have you ever felt that way? I know I sure have.

I don’t believe God makes comparisons. As in, “Why weren’t you morel like Harry” or “Why didn’t you do better than Sally?” I tend to believe that the question God is much more likely to ask you after you have left the planet is “In terms of what I gave you, how much did you do with it?”

That’s a nice way to do a little self-evaluation. How am I doing with the blessings I’ve been given?

With that self-evaluation and feedback, celebrate what you have done well with, and keep it up. Then notice what you have not done well with yet, and chart a course to make the most out of the gifts and blessings you have been given.

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist.

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