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15 Signs You Are A Truly Free Person

15 Signs You Are A Truly Free Person

While it may mean something different for all of us, everyone savors the idea of freedom. We all have degrees of freedom in our lives, but for most people, freedom feels somewhat unattainable. Even if we have financial freedom, we may not have emotional freedom (e.g. depression or anxiety). If we have freedom in our careers, we might not have physical freedom (e.g. diseases and poor health). It’s difficult to get all the components in place. So if you’re wondering just how “free” you are in your life right now, see if you match any of these traits of a truly free person.

1. You dread nothing

It’s hard to feel free when you wake up every morning and a wave of dread washes over you – dread about having to go to work, dread about certain troubled relationships, etc. Free people rarely experience this feeling. Their either eliminate what doesn’t suit them, or they change their perspective about it.

2. Your habits serve you

There’s a difference between habits and addictions. A truly free person will have habits that they’ve consciously cultivated, like getting exercise in a way that they enjoy. These are’t self-damaging habits, like smoking, eating fast food, or spending time with toxic people. Free people have recognized how these things disempower them.

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3. You make your own decisions

If you feel restricted from making the decisions you want, it’s especially difficult to feel free. A free person will ignore negative judgement from others because they know what’s best for themselves. They also avoid handing too much power over to people with overbearing and forceful personalities.Free people don’t give in to peer pressure and meaningless obligations that don’t benefit them.

4. You are full of energy

A lack of energy is a barrier to your physical freedom. So those who are truly free will expend their energy in ways they enjoy. They are not constantly running out of energy, but rather, always recharging. This includes very different activities for different people, but the overall affect of feeling energized is the same.

5. You believe in your abilities

If you believe you are capable of achieving your goals, you free yourself up to actually move toward those things. If you are skeptical of your abilities, you feel unable to try, or like you don’t have the right to try Free people are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and play life to their own advantage. They don’t waste time berating themselves over mistakes, and can view them as a learning experience.

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6. You are financially comfortable

This isn’t based on the amount of money you earn. Rather, it is dictated by your feelings toward money. Free people may live on very low salaries or very high salaries. Regardless of their actual income, they afford what they need and feel stable instead of constantly stressed. A free person will not feel the need to overspend in order to reach fulfillment.

7. You ask for help from others

It may seem counter-intuitive, but true freedom usually involves help from others. Truly free people will ask for advice in order to better themselves, or ask for direct assistance without feeling embarrassed. They recognize that refusing help from others is a personally-imposed restriction to their freedom. Essentially, free people are not governed by pride.

8. You have free time

Obviously, true freedom involves some free time! Even if your schedule is packed, it can be packed with things you decided and wanted to do. This can also be considered free time because you are living as you intend to live. A free person will divvy up their time into work and play without overindulging in either.

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9. You know yourself

Because freedom involves doing what you want and living how you wish, knowing yourself is a precursor to freedom. Free people know enough about their likes, dislikes, values, standards, and goals to actually attain freedom. Living by another’s standards is a kind of spiritual laziness, and is a barrier to freedom that some may not recognize.

10. You are independent

Just as freedom involves asking for help when you need it, independence is another significant component. Free people don’t feel needy or unstable when they’re alone. They also don’t depend on others for their basic needs, like food and clean clothes. (Yes, free people still need to do their laundry). Basically, free people are not hindered by a sense of helplessness, which prevents people from caring for themselves.

11. You are physically healthy

A truly free person won’t find themselves surrounded by prescription pills, medical bills, and junk food. A free person will take their health into their own hands and improve their bodies the best they can when a health problem arises. They won’t allow negative addictions to creep in and hold their health hostage.

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12. You laugh

Why does laughing make you free? Because it’s your primary right to enjoy yourself and your life. Someone who doesn’t laugh is missing out on the simplest and most basic form of freedom. A truly free person will take time out for laughter because they know they deserve it.

13. You fulfill your needs

By now, you’ve realized that your needs must be met, and this is something that free people consciously monitor. Free people don’t wait for their needs to be met by others; they assess them on an ongoing basis. They rest when they need to, call a friend when they need to, and even push themselves to work harder when it’s the best thing for them.

14. You don’t let others hold you back

Freedom involves healthy boundaries between you and others. The opposite of this is codependency, which causes people to rely excessively on others for their self worth. Truly free people don’t derive their self worth from external people or events. They judge themselves according to their own reasonable standards, and stay on track with their goals regardless of the behavior of others.

15. You have fun

If you’re truly free, you spend a lot of your time in a state of joy and contentment. You’re not anxiously anticipating the future or a better day. You’re not waiting for permission to enjoy something. You are simple living in the moment, and savoring the twists and turns that come with life.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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