WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE AS A FREE PERSON?
When I was a boy, my grandmother told me that there would be a time when I would be on my own...
That no other person would meet me with the same level of unconditional love as the people who loved me as a child. She told me that the time would come when my love for myself would have to be enough to remind me of what it means to live as a free person.
Developing my own internal resources helped me to move through some very difficult times when I faced systemic racism, homophobia, and discriminatory institutional structures with people, places, and policies. Not to mention the struggles that come with daily life.
My grandmother was the first to teach me to grow love inside myself so that I could sustain myself through my own hard times. Through my education, I learned more skills. As a therapist, I teach others to live as free people. Living as a free person means developing resources so that you can stand on your own and live your life on your own terms.
How to develop internal resources for yourself
Developing your own internal resources starts inside yourself. Go back into your memories where you felt the unconditional, positive regard, love, and the joy of being free and curious. Before life happened and your reality was defined by the adults around you. Take those memories, connect with all the beautiful positive sensations, and call that love into yourself when you are in a crisis to give you the strength to face real threats in your life.
During the times when I have to rely on my own internal resources I know that there was a time when someone loved and prayed for me. I can connect with the love that my elders gave to me, and remember.
My work now
It is my job now, as a therapist, to help you learn to develop your own internal resources and to guide you on your own path of living as a free person.
ON REAL LOVE
Do you often hear, “If you loved me, you would do x, y, and z”?
We have been fooled into thinking that real love requires submission. That my love for you means that I have to bend to your expectations and needs at the expense of my own.
Real love does not require you to be submissive or obedient to show your love for others. You can be strong and powerful and your full self, AND be in loving relationship while also holding your loved ones accountable.
You do not have to engage in behaviors that lead you to give up your freedom.
You have the ability and the responsibility to choose yourself.
Ultimately, each of us are responsible for our own needs if we are going to live as free people. None of us have to conform or comply to an idea or expectation to prove our love.
As your therapist, it is my honor to help you to treat each moment each day as an invitation to love yourself, helping you live your life with intention.
Regardless of your situation or the constraints on your life, you do not have to live in bondage. You can live as a free person.
Imagine you wake up one morning and you feel that something has shifted. You realize that you love your life, and not only that, you feel that a weight that you’ve been carrying on your neck and shoulders is no longer there. The constant stomachache and the low level anxiety that you have been trying to manage has disappeared.
You look around your life and you count your blessings. You take a deep breath and smile. You have worked so hard for this.
Your mouth opens in a tiny gasp, and you realize that you are free.
You got rid of that relationship that dragged you down, and made you shrink yourself.
You and your family have regular, loving, (really loving) conversations. You feel connected to the ones you love, and you have a community in which you absolutely belong. You have also learned to say no, and put yourself first, so that you are only involving yourself in activities and relationships that make you feel good.
You feel fulfilled by your work, and you are a respected member of your workplace, and you know your colleagues trust you, and you trust them to have your back. You have professional relationships built on mutual respect and true merit. Your co-workers have done the work as a group to clear their bad habits.
You are in love. Love that supports your goals, and allows you to speak your truth without fear. You know that your partner is fully in your corner. You regularly have conversations about your goals and desires. You feel supported and seen. You feel safe in your relationship, and you are so excited to spend your life with this person.
You remember what is was like to spend so much of your time thinking about how you were mistreated by your boss and barely tolerated by your coworkers. You remember the microaggressions - where others took credit for your ideas, where the tears of other women were meant to make you feel smaller, where you were reprimanded for demanding to be treated in your full humanity.
You remember when you bent over backwards to meet the expectations of those you loved the most. You remember days and weeks-- months even -- in behaviors and activities done only to prove how much you loved another. You wondered when it would be your turn to demand actions out of love. You wondered when you would get your dreams and desires met.
You remembered how you practiced your smile and modulating your voice to make others feel safe and comfortable, even though it felt like hiding under a bushel. How your tempered your vitality. You shrunk so that others could shine.
Waiting, because surely your time was coming.
Now you see that waiting was wrong. You also see that those things you wanted, to have your turn to demand love, to scream as loud as you could , just so that you could be heard.
None of that is what you actually wanted.
All you really wanted was to be free.
And here you are.