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KNOWITALL's avatar

What experience or epiphany have you had about your own sense of personal freedom?

Asked by KNOWITALL (14843 points ) January 30th, 2014

Are you the type of person who just wants to be you or do you cave to societal or familial pressures?

I had an epiphany at age 14 when discovered that my mother and my preacher weren’t always correct about everything, which kind of shocked me because I was used to being submissive in both of those situations. At that point I decided to do my own research and draw my own conclusions.

For me, that personal epiphany led me on a much different path than my peers or other family members, basically it showed me a path to happiness and freedom that I’d rarely if ever felt before.

Now I could care less what anyone thinks about my choices, which are harmless, but often people seem surprised that I truly do not care what others think about anything – it’s liberating. I don’t do credit cards, I don’t have children, I don’t keep up with the Joneses, etc…

What has your experience been with this, or do you feel oppressed or judged?

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19 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

I’d love to say I’m all tough and independent, but truth is for many years, I wanted to fit in and be accepted by people. Thing is I didn’t care enough to make much of an effort, and therefore, it never worked. The old horse always comes a racin’ back as they say. I figure I should be proud of my individuality instead of trying to conform to what people think I oughta be.
Fortunately, now I’m older and I don’t seem to give two shits about this kinda stuff anymore.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Symbeline I have to say the seperate epiphany that ‘people suck’ helped me with the feeling of wanting to be accepted as well.
It really bothered me that people abused their children- my gma was into legislating against molestation, and we’re in animal-abuse capital seems like. All that plus my own family situation with my bio father did seem to encourage my liberation…lol

thorninmud's avatar

The first would have been similar to yours, when I finally found the gumption to stop letting my social network dictate my values and beliefs. That was really hard, because in my case it meant cutting myself off from pretty much everyone I’d ever cared about. But I had the same rush of liberation that you mention.

The ongoing lesson for me is that we pay for freedom by giving up some form of comfort or security. I’ve seen that exchange play out over and over again. Most often, the comfort and security I give up is some old behavior pattern or thought process that took root so far back that I don’t even remember what planted the seed.

Just as an example, I’ve always hated conflict and confrontation. It makes me very uncomfortable, That started way back when I was a little kid, and it feels like such a part of me now that it’s extremely difficult for me to go up against anybody in a direct way. But I’m also aware that this is a huge hindrance. I often don’t claim my due if it would mean confronting someone.

So I see that to be free in this regard requires giving up the comfort of non-confrontation. More and more, I force myself into that intensely uncomfortable confrontational space. I had to do that this morning with the contractors who are remodeling our house. I had to tell them that they had to undo a lot of their work because we had asked for something else. I knew how much they hated hearing that, and that just kills me. But now that it’s done, there’s that rush of liberation again.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@thorninmud Good for you, sounds like you are really making big progress!

Believe it or not, I had to take poise classes because I was so shy I’d hide from people. Now, after that as a child and my liberating experiences, I can hash things out aggressively if necessary and it’s incredible! Practice makes perfect as far as that goes.

I thought I may get some good answers here because we do have a lot of self-proclaimed introverts here.

Cruiser's avatar

Mine was finally coming to the conclusion that people are a lot less trustworthy than I ever thought and wanted them to be. I look back through my life at all the friends and acquaintances that ultimately were only interested in what they could get or take from me…then of course the ex’s especially the ex-wife. Then came the business relationships but that could go both ways I am not ashamed to say. Outside my very immediate family I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I truly trust. This epiphany put a serious cramp in my otherwise optimistic faith in my fellow man.

ibstubro's avatar

This is kind of a two-fer.

I soured on religion when I realized that the farm folk I went to church with took everything on blind faith, and literally believed every word of the Bible, verbatim.

I’m not “type of person who just wants to be” me, I am “me” 90+% of the time. I can sugar coat and tell my truth at the same time, but if I see someone do something that I believe inherently wrong, I will often call them out on it, there and on the spot. People are rude and take advantage of other people because that is learned behavior: you can often take advantage of good people because of their inherent goodness and politeness. I try to help them unlearn that behavior.

>:-)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ibstubro What a GA!

What really touched home for me in your post is that those same people who took everything literally, are also the same ones who abused their kids, or cheated on their wives down at the local tavern, but come Sunday they were in suits and deacons of the church. I don’t roll that way.

Additionally, when my hubs and I got together, I told him I hoped some of his ‘nice’ rubbed off on me and we just had our 10 yr wedding anniversary (together 13 yrs) and he said that he’s glad my confrontational skills rubbed off on him. We kind of laughed at how it’s worked out for us, people took advantage of him all the time with borrowing money, asking for rides, calling him for help in the middle of the night and I had to force him to put himself first for various reasons, so I totally get that.

ibstubro's avatar

Well, @KNOWITALL I cannot live and not question! For me, the two are inseparable. Questioning means you’re curious and actively learning.

I became an agnostic because I truly believe that if there is a God, it would be beyond my comprehension. I think it’s great that you find comfort in being a theist and still intelligent and fun. I left the church as much because of the guilt I felt over them believing I was trying to shake their, rather than reconcile my own questions. They were good people, mostly too old for philandering and big sin. I was not going to find my answers there, so I left them in peace with their peace-of-mind intact.

Oh, and just yesterday one of our best friends was telling about his wife’s frustration with not getting satisfaction from the cable company. Finally, the wife turned to the husband and said, “Dang, I probably should have just called ibstubro and let HIM handle it. Cable would be on by now. I’m rubbing off on a lot of people, it seems. :)

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In the past year, I’ve slowly come to realize that I will probably spend the rest of my life alone because I cannot bear having someone else in it 24/7. I’ve come to realize that I value my independence more than anything else on earth.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ibstubro I understand. I guess that when I pray and get my answers direct from the source, to me that is questinging and receiving answers to my satisfaction. Maybe He just didn’t like your tone son…lol

Blackberry's avatar

I have a lot more than others and I should be pretty lucky.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

Eh. We have none, if you read the news.

I’ve always done what I wanted and I have reaped the consequences.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve always inhabited the gray areas of life myself and I too, truly do not care what others think of me. I gave that up a long time ago. Yes, it is liberating, not to say that my ego won’t experience an occasional twang if I feel misunderstood, but all in all, bottom line, we all have to be our own self champions.

MadMadMax's avatar

I realize I do not live in a “free” country.

ibstubro's avatar

And, exactly What would a “free country” entail? @MadMadMax.

What freedom of yours is not abridged by someone else’s?

Name one freedom that you personally do not have that you think you’re entitled to, and denied?

Can the United States become much more “free” without disintegrating?

Judi's avatar

Mine came when I moved 800 miles away from my family. It seemed that I was always thinking wrong and saying wrong according to them and I believed them. I even let my first husband tell me what I should say and do.
I finally realized that my opinion had value when I was actually recruited for a job.
When my first husband died, I hate to say it but in a lot of ways it was liberating. For the first time I was really on my own and I could finally be me.
That was well over 20 years ago and I am still in the process of figuring out who I am. I have had insecure moments over the years but it’s nice to be defining my own standard of who I want to be and not walking on eggshells trying to fit into the mold that everyone else wants me to be.
I had a moment a few weeks ago when all my sisters children unfriended me on Facebook. It seems that my oldest sister is paranoid that my other sister and I are talking behind her back.
At first I was very careful not to even mention her to my other sister because I didn’t want to offend her. Then I realized that’s just bullshit. I refuse to walk on eggshells because of her delusional paranoia. If she doesn’t like it it’s her problem.
I couldn’t believe I almost fell back into the trap after all these years.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I pretty much raised myself from my early teens. When I could choose anything, to eat, drink, where I was going to end up at night, etc, you learn to rely on yourself and make your own choices. Other’s opinions have little or no meaning to your life. Yeah, I screwed up some and was lucky I got through it, but I think it was very liberating.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Judi I totally get that, and good for you. There have been several people who wanted me to walk on egg shells and tried to motivate me with guilt, the burden was so heavy that I shunned it all and most of those people (even family.) A little sad, but you can’t change people’s expectations, only yourself. Glad you kept yourself free!!

ibstubro's avatar

Family can be the worst trap, @Judi, and so many people allow it. Good for you. I’d say you chose your first husband based on the standard your family had set for you as a kid.

My mother is toxic, and I stopped associating with her in about 1982. She kept trying to draw me back into the web until finally, a couple of years ago, she donated $750,000 to charity to spite me and/or my sister, who’s also broken with her. Mostly money that she and my father inherited by breaking their parents will to prevent my bother, sister and I from inheriting directly from our grandparents.

She (my mother) thought she was teaching me/us the final lesson. And she was, just not the lesson she intended. She wrote large that I made the right decision breaking with her in the first place.

Don’t let them manipulate you into being someone you’re not, @Judi.

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