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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 January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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