By Shawn McAndrew
The first step to emotional freedom is awareness. Without awareness, emotional freedom is just a dream floating on the horizon. But, let me back up a minute – what is emotional freedom?
Road Map to Freedom
To me, it is about separating one’s thoughts and actions from the constrictive and restrictive patterns that keep us locked and stuck in history. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, emotional freedom is a road map for anyone who is stressed out, discouraged or overwhelmed, as well as anyone who is in a good place but wants to feel even better.
As children, we pick up ways of reacting and thinking from our parents and surrogates. We either adopt or rebel against these ways of being, which in turn sets us up to be just like our parents/surrogates. Or we become the opposite of them – usually from a place of negative love.
We Have A Choice
Now, back to that awareness aspect. When we become aware of why we react to something in a negative way, or why we think unfavorably, we have a choice. Choice is something we came to understand in the Process – I can continue to be sullen and isolated, like my father, or I can choose to engage and be open, allowing others into my life. Wow! That’s emotional freedom. To no longer think that people don’t like me, that I don’t belong, that I’m not condemned to spend my life alone and isolated frees me from a lifetime of self-imposed tyrannical thoughts and actions.
Recycling these negative patterns into authentic ways of being is the next step to becoming emotionally free. In the Process, recycling is a tool used in the final step of the Cycle of Transformation: following expressive work and finding compassion and forgiveness in order to create new behaviors. We get to look at the patterns we learned from our parents and surrogates and understand how they operate presently in our lives.
I Am Love, Loving & Lovable
I got to look at the “I’m unlovable” box in which I placed myself. This allowed me to find the freedom to 1) love myself, 2) love others, and 3) allow others to love me (I am love, loving, and lovable). Unburdening myself of wariness, barriers, pushing away others, and self-imposed isolation gave me more space for openness, love, interaction, connection, and humanness. In other words, I freed up space in my brain’s hard drive for more positive data by which to operate in the world.
We always have a choice in how we operate in this world. I can stay trapped in that box I created for myself, suffocating on the stale air and being irritated by the scratchy interior. Or, I can get out into the fresh air and light, stretch my limbs, and experience relief and release.
Go ahead, take a deep, cleansing breath and fill your lungs with free air. Feel freedom in every cell of your body and celebrate it! Celebrate your emotional freedom. Dance, sing, walk around with your head held high. Never forget who you are at the very center of your essence – your beautiful, light-filled, free Spirit.