June 22

Being Free

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | 6 Comments

I’m writing this after a long day, but I want to get my thoughts out before they disappear. Kris Kristofferson wrote (and sang, but not as memorably) “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” and Janis Joplin made it famous. I have always loved that line. I find it to be so true. To be truly free, you can have no attachment. That is what this song lyric is saying.

In Existential therapy freedom brings with it responsibility. When you make choices which you are free to make, you take responsibility for those choices. You own them. They are your choices. And, in Existential theory, your choices are abundant.

So why am I writing all of this about freedom, and responsibility, and choices. Well, part of it is personal. I value freedom, probably too much. I want the ability to make the choices I want, and I pay costs for that. I make choices that maintain my freedom to choose, but that at times ultimately don’t seem healthy for me.

And that brings me to the other reason I am writing this. Some theorists believe you are at the mercy of your past, that your “choices” aren’t really choices at all, but preconditioned responses to stimuli. I would be obliged to agree at least partly with this. Our past influences our present. And at times we make poor decisions as a direct result of our histories, unconscious forces pushing us in a direction that might be difficult or even unhealthy, or as a reaction to something buried from the past. The unconscious is a powerful force. I’ve written about the unconscious role in attraction. In fact, an excellent book on it is called “A General Theory of Love.” The unconscious doesn’t stop there; it permeates much of our existence.

I guess what I am suggesting is for everyone to try to become more aware of what was previously unconscious. In other words, work at making your unconscious conscious. Think about your thinking. Ask yourself what drives you in the direction you are going. Try to determine what is going into the decisions you are making. Be responsible for your decisions. Recognize your freedom. And understand that you sometimes forgo freedom to have other comforts. But these are your choices, own them.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 12:36 AM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Being Free”

  1. roxie on June 22nd, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    This was great!

  2. William Berry on June 22nd, 2009 at 6:55 PM

    Thank you. I really didn’t think so, but I needed to at least get it out there. Maybe I’ll edit it in the future and make it better. But thank you for the comment.

  3. Gloria on June 23rd, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    This was truly great… I can totally relate to your analysis.

  4. William Berry on June 23rd, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    Thank you for your comment Gloria.

  5. Graciela on April 24th, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    I read this article today and remembered this post of yours. It made me wonder what your take on it is…

    http://lifestyle.msn.com/relationships/article.aspx?cp-documentid=23763539

  6. William Berry on April 25th, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    I skimmed it, and at first it made me wonder my articles aren’t on MSN somewhere. The article didn’t impress me at all. As for the theory of being afraid to commit, I easily recognize it in myself. But the “new” term counter-dependent, well, maybe, but I think her coining of this “new” term is ridiculous. I don’t like to depend on anyone, but I don’t think that is why I don’t like to commit. Instead, I think its more rational. Odds are, whether people want to admit it or not, the happy ever after relationship is extremely unlikely. And I simply don’t like to try to fool myself. My personality, and I think I’ve learned a lot about it, has difficulty remaining in long term monogamous relations. So for me the odds would be even longer. So to tell myself, maybe this time, is either naive or just stupid. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the desire to do it, I simply temper it a great deal with awareness I’m likely just fooling myself again. Sounds horrible, I know. But sometimes self knowledge has its costs.

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