[00:00:00] Welcome to today's TLC. Whether you found this podcast on my website, through the emails I send, or simply from a friend, I'm glad that you've decided to add some TLC today.
[00:00:17] Hey friends. Welcome back to today's TLC. I've been thinking a lot about freedom recently because you know, it's summer and it's the 4th of July season. And A lot of times in the past, when I think of the freedoms of the 4th of July, I think of my ancestors who are veterans and all of those who have fought for different freedoms that I enjoy as a woman, as a practicing Christian, as an involved member of society, the ability to vote, raise my family where I want to, choose my job, my vocation... there's so many things that I appreciate that the people who came before me gave to me even though I didn't fight the wars or petition the different laws or do the work to get those freedoms. And I'm so grateful for that. So grateful for all of those who put that time, energy, and even their lives into giving us those freedoms.
[00:01:13] Typically I have that on my mind when I'm thinking about freedom. But a couple of things have influenced my view of freedom and I wanted to share with you today about some of what I feel is true freedom. A lot of that has come from tools that I use from therapy or from support groups or from my coaching education that have given me a different level of freedom that I didn't realize was possible for me until this phase of my life. So I wanted to share some of that with you today.
[00:01:44] One of the leaders of my church lives a few houses down from me and their son married a girl from Ukraine. Well, when everything happened with the war she was really afraid for her family and this leader in my church decided to open up their home to the family of their daughter-in-law. They now have the mother, another daughter and a son of that family living with them. Because we have boys, their son has become friends with our sons. He is just the sweetest little boy from Ukraine, but he does not speak English. It has been a beautiful experience for my children to learn how to communicate and be thoughtful and mindful with this 11 year old boy that has been plucked out of his life situation and put into somewhere completely different. Watching this boy not be able to ask for simple things like a drink of water having to use a separate machine to tell us what he needs or do a sort of charades game to be able to figure it out has been a great exercise for us, but also really brings to focus the value of the ability to communicate.
[00:02:54] I actually lived in Costa Rica for seven months right after high school. I was dropped into a host family. I had taken a semester in high school of Spanish so, you know, I didn't speak very much at all. Well, this situation with this boy from Ukraine reminded me of how I felt when I couldn't really communicate with that family. It really disconnected me from the people around me, it took a long time for me to be able to figure out how to communicate what I needed and to feel a part of what was going on because I couldn't use my voice. It was just me and my mind.
[00:03:28] That is the second thing I want to talk about today: the freedom that comes when you are aware of your mind.
[00:03:36] A friend recently gave me a book that's helping me really look at my perception and how I experience life. Something I read from this book this morning really resonated with me that this is what it means to truly be free when we understand this truth. It says, "Nothing, which you are experiencing is caused by anything outside of you."
[00:04:01] *Truly nothing you're experiencing right now is caused by anything outside of you. *
[00:04:09] Because remember things happen and then how we experience it depends on the filter we used. When we blame everything around us for what's going on, we lose the freedom to choose a different path. Accepting that we are the influence for our experience, that our choices, our mindset, our beliefs are what's driving our experience to be the way it is—when we own that, that gives us the freedom to create our experience. That's the true freedom that I want to talk to you about.
[00:04:46] Let's think about my friends from Ukraine again for a minute. I've become friends with the Ukrainian mother of that boy and we've talked a little bit back and forth using a translator about how she's feeling and what's going on with her husband and her other son that couldn't leave the country because they were military age. And how hard it is for her to be over here while she knows that they're over there in a place that's not safe. If she believed that her circumstances created her experience how do you think she would feel? How do you think she would experience it differently if she decided that she was going to make the best of the situation and create ways to find peace and joy and fulfillment even though she is miles and miles away from her home, her family, her friends, everything that's familiar. There are so many reasons why she could be upset or feel like a victim of what's going on. But this beautiful woman has been an example to me of how important our focus is and how our choices influence how we're experiencing things.
[00:05:55] *True freedom comes when we retrain our minds to accept responsibility for our experience each moment. *
[00:06:04] A few days ago, one of my sons was really pushing the buttons of my other son. You know how it is when the younger sibling knows exactly what to do to get under the skin of the older sibling and they just keep pushing that button over and over and over again. I could hear the older siblings throwing a fit to the point where I knew I needed to intervene or it was going to get bad. So I went upstairs and I knelt down so I was on the eye level of my son and I said to him, "Who is responsible for your feelings?" And immediately he said, "My brother is, he did this thing and he made me mad and he's being so mean to me!" I stopped him and said, "Who is responsible for your feelings? Can your brother make you feel angry?"
[00:06:49] He was determined, he said, "Yes, he can! He's being so mean!" I helped him breathe and calm down and. Reminded him again.. I said, "Son, only you can choose your feelings. He might be doing something that you think is mean. That you feel attacked... and I agree, it's probably not kind what he's doing. But you still get to choose your feelings and choose what you do next. Some days when he does this, you laugh at him and say, 'I've got my power you can't take my power I'm in charge' and you walk away. But today you're choosing to be mad about it. It's okay if you want to stay mad, but just remember that you are choosing it. Do you want to stay mad?"
[00:07:38] He looked at me with one of those intense faces, scrunched his eyes, took a breath, and said, "No, I don't want to be mad." I said, "Okay. So, what do you want to do now?" "Well, I want my brother to change his choices!" And I reminded him, "No. I didn't ask you what your brother needs to do. Cause he can keep doing what he wants to do and you can choose to feel differently. You don't have to stay in that feeling. You have the freedom to choose a different response. What do you want to choose?"
[00:08:14] After I shared that with him, my sweet son relaxed his shoulders and gave me a hug. It was such a good moment of helping him feel empowered, helping him feel like he wasn't stuck in that cycle anymore where his brother pushes the button and then he has to be angry and it just goes on and on and on. Now you can imagine the little brother wanted to test those boundaries and immediately push the button and my other son looked at me as if he wanted me to avenge him! I just smiled at him and said, "He doesn't have to change his choices for you to be okay." I gave him permission to use his agency and then he simply said something like this to his little brother: "That's not going to work. Bye." And he walked away.
[00:09:02] How often do you believe (like my son) that other people's choices create your feelings?
[00:09:09] That person at work that's just so annoying. Or that child that continuously pushes the boundaries. Maybe it's your in-laws who are super nosy and always asking personal questions that drive you crazy. Or maybe it's your spouse that said that they were going to do something and then didn't follow through.
[00:09:26] I'm not telling you to not have feelings. It's totally fine for you to feel whatever you want to feel in response to what's going on around you. I'm just inviting you to truly believe that you are responsible for what's going on inside of you at any given moment. In your heart and in your mind. No one can hand you a feeling and tell you, you have to feel it. No one can give you a belief and force you to accept that belief.
[00:09:59] *You are the filter of your experience. You have the freedom to choose. *
[00:10:05] Unfortunately, we often give pieces of that freedom away with our lifestyle choices. Anytime we repetitively go outside of ourselves to feel better about something. We are attaching our freedom to something else.
[00:10:23] For example, if I have a habit of going to the pantry and eating a cookie every time I felt stress, I start becoming dependent on that cookie to help me feel better because I'm training my body to need it to feel better instead of managing my thoughts and my feelings. It takes some effort. It takes some work to have this freedom. But how many people have died so that we can have the freedom of choice? How much effort have they put in so that you can have freedom that you enjoy right now?
[00:10:58] I'm kind of passionate about this, but I feel like so many of us are giving away our freedoms because we are unwilling to look at our minds. Unwilling to accept that we have influence over what we feel and that we've created our experience.
[00:11:17] *What have you given your freedom to? *
[00:11:21] Is it somebody else's choices? Is it something that you consume— media, alcohol, drugs, food shopping, Netflix...? Whatever it is that you've created that dependency on that's not freedom. You do not need it to be okay. I do not need my kids to behave for me to feel calm or loving or kind. Although, sometimes I struggled to believe that. But I do know when I'm in a clear place that that is true.
[00:11:57] We don't need the approval of other people to feel like we're enough or lovable. And we don't even need our surroundings to feel safe or happy like my Ukrainian friends.
[00:12:10] As you contemplate your freedoms, I want you to think about this: if you were put somewhere completely different where you didn't know the language, you had to depend on people around you for basic things, if you like my friends had less time in your lifestyle and had more time in your mind, how free would you truly be?
[00:12:37] *I invite you to think about how you can fight for your own freedom today. Your mental and emotional freedom. Your choices are creating your experience. Choose freedom. *
[00:12:53] You have tools to do this. And if you don't, I'd be happy to help you—because the freedom of mind is the greatest gift.
[00:13:02] That's the goal of life after therapy: to be free of the traumas of the past; to be free of addiction or toxic relationships; and ultimately to be free of the belief that life creates your experience.
[00:13:21] There will be something today that stirs something in you. Something will happen that you don't really like: words someone says, plans that fall through, expectations that aren't met... in those moments remind yourself that you are free to choose. Gratefully, we're not in the middle of a war. Our day-to-day is fairly predictable. Focus instead on the war that happens in your own mind and heart.
[00:13:51] *What do you want to choose next? Because freedom is a state of mind. *
[00:13:57] Happy 4th of July season my friends!
[00:14:00] Life after therapy can be simple. Come learn how to think, light feel light, and live light www.thelightcoach.com. I offer five free discovery sessions each week and one of them is for you. Together, let's discover the joy that's possible. In life after therapy.