It was my junior year in college when I started to find myself. Discovering my womanhood and what the world had to offer, I started craving sex and a good time. So I got a tattoo:
“freewoman” it read across the inside of my wrist.
You know, the whole “my body is my temple” sentiments that some of us carry? Well, all my life I said I would never get a tattoo. But for some reason, the thought of doing something I said I would never do made me feel loose. Un-grounded for once. Free.
My roommates thought I was crazy. Hell, I thought I was crazy.
But I had a tattoo in less than 2 hours. And my roommate decided that if I could get a tattoo, then so could she. A week later she topped my single word with an entire quote tattooed down her spine!
You see, freedom is both external and internal. External in the sense that you can do whatever you want to your body. Internal in that you should not hold yourself captive to self-bounding, self-doubting, fearful thoughts.
In those moments you find your mind battling between rationality and spontaneity, listen to your gut feeling that’s telling you which action to take. Don’t be afraid of what will happen after. You won’t know the future until you actually do something first!
Say Yes to What You Usually Say No
Try stepping outside your comfort zone by doing the opposite of what you normally do. Just for one day in the week, challenge yourself to appreciate the limitless opportunities for growth. Take a chance on something you never really liked, never really imagined, never really wanted before.
Here are some tips:
- Think about your daily routine and what you do the same each day. How can you switch things up in a way that doesn’t feel like torture, but does make you excited, curious, determined?
- Don’t force yourself to do something that truly makes you unhappy.
- Ask your partner, close friend, or a family member what they think you are most stubborn about. What are some areas that they think you could lighten up in? (You do you at the end of the day, but it doesn’t hurt to hear what others see in you that maybe you don’t. Of course, take what anyone says about who you are with a grain of salt.)
- Look at this activity as an opportunity to try something new rather than something you don’t like.
When in doubt, choose something simple. For example, I practice smiling more than I usually would even though I already smile a lot. Something about a smile brightens up my day and everything else around me.
Stay in Your Lane
Your lane and your lane only.
With the constant flow of information that is coming into our brains on a daily basis, we have greater exposure to what’s happening in other parts of the world near and far. More specifically, what’s happening in other people’s lives.
We can be so happy for – and sometimes envious of – someone else’s achievements. But we feel disappointment in our lack of accomplishment and mourn over the things we don’t have. Allowing ourselves to be distracted and obsessed with the privileges and luxuries that other people have.
It is hard to forget about these things when media throws it in your face every chance they get. Still, you can implement strategies to keep you focused on your life, your presence and the presence of others around you.
- Don’t spend time on your phone or computer unless you have to.
- Go for lots of walks by yourself and make sure to take in any nature that surrounds you.
- Start journaling (highly recommend). Reflect on YOURSELF.
- Schedule time with yourself. Be firm about your ME-time and don’t let anyone change your plans.
- Try saying “I” more often. You may have to replace some they’s he’s or she’s.
- Keep busy, but get some rest. More sleep means less time for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to kick in.
- Pick up a new hobby. The more time you spend improving, the less time you have to reprimand yourself.
If you find yourself bent over in a huddle because you’re not where you want to be yet or you still haven’t reached a goal that you set a few months ago, just breathe. Forgive yourself.
You only get one life and it’d be a bummer if you spent it constantly feeling sorry for yourself. Angry with yourself for not being someone you’re not or not doings things that you just don’t have it in your heart to do. Too many times we give ourselves shit for not measuring up to standards that are usually meaningless or impractical.
Who cares if you don’t have more than enough money?
Why does it matter if you don’t like to dress up?
What’s so bad about double texting?
The moment you forgive yourself for not being perfect is when you will release your inner-freewoman. If you’re struggling to let go of self-resentment for something you did or didn’t do, ask yourself:
- Why I do feel so bad about what I did (or didn’t) do?
- What can I change about what happened (or didn’t happen)?
- What can I do better next time?
- What have I learned from my actions or lack thereof?
After you ask yourself these questions, then look in the mirror and say, “I am not a bad person.” Again, you’re not perfect. And you never will be. Accept YOU for YOU because that’s the only way you’ll ever be able to embrace internal and external freedom together.