Do you ever feel trapped in your own life?
In this article, I’m going to share three main things that often keep us from experiencing the freedom we want to experience, and from feeling empowered as women.
What Keeps Us From feeling Free
If we’re going to feel a sense of fulfillment, joy and being authentic, we absolutely need to feel free.
If on any level we’re feeling trapped, feeling like we don’t have a choice, and our life is not our own, there’s something keeping us from being free and certainly keeping us from standing strong, confident and courageous in our truth and the authenticity of who we are.
Scarcity Stands In Our Way of Being Free
We are a culture of scarcity.
The patriarchal dominance culture has set things up this way. Even capitalism has set things up this way, we see so much coming at us through advertising. You can’t go to the gas station anymore without something in your face telling you to “Buy this,” or saying “You need that.”
We start to think we must have all of these things in order to be happy. We’re literally trained from a very young age that life is not abundant, that there’s only so much to go around.
“Be the first to know.”
“Be the first to purchase.”
“If you sign up now, you’ll get this extra bonus.”
“If you miss out, here’s what’ll happen to you.”
We feel an incredibly ingrained sense of scarcity. It gives us a constant feeling of lack, this constant feeling that we’re not enough.
What happens when we don’t feel enough is that we start to over give in order to compensate.
We want to please people. We want to make everyone else happy to prove that we’re enough.
We also over take. We try to keep up with the Joneses and we buy too much. We end up in a selfish mode of, “Look out for myself because nobody else is going to look out for me,” because we have this scarcity mentality. We’re not really aligned with our True Self.
This state of being misaligned and in scarcity mode is due to not remembering who you are.
In the diagram below of three circles overlapping, one of the circles is about remembering and being able to really know, “Who am I? What is mine to do? What are my strengths? What are my gifts?”
We need to remember who we are to break free from a sense of scarcity.
When you know the richness, beauty and magic of who you are, you will never think you’re not enough.
You will not need to compare yourself to anyone else.
You will not feel that you need to please others just to feel validated in who you are.
You won’t feel like you must take more than you need, or somehow prove yourself, or go overboard in the way that you live your life just to feel enough.
Tune in to who you really are to overcome that scarcity block to freedom.
Shame Is Blocking Your Freedom
The second block to our freedom is shame.
There are many different definitions of shame. I love the concept of distinguishing between shame and guilt, because a lot of people get confused about this.
Guilt might be something you feel on a personal level, like you’ve somehow gone against your own boundaries for yourself, your own standards for yourself. Maybe you have a standard that you’re going to exercise every day for 30 days, or you’re going to only eat a certain way. When you don’t do that, or you do something you said you weren’t going to do, you start to feel guilt. In the guilty feeling, you’ve broken your own standard. You feel like you’ve not met your own personal standard.
When we go to shame, we start to feel that we’re somehow not meeting the standards of the community as a whole. Maybe you’re a woman with a partner, and everywhere you go everyone is saying to you, “When are you going to have children?”
I work with young adults in a young adult academy, helping them to confidently step into the world, focusing on being their True Selves and experiencing the freedom they deserve to experience. In that process they’re struggling in this transition to adulthood. They struggle with, “What college are you going to? What are your plans?”
Many of them just graduated high school. They don’t have any idea. They’re not ready to decide. They feel like somehow they’re not meeting the standards of society. They start to feel, “I should know what I’m supposed to do. I should be going to college.”
Similarly, the woman who’s not ready to have children, or maybe doesn’t even want to have children, thinks to herself, “I feel like I’m supposed to be starting a family. This is what’s expected of me in society.”
We can then start to feel a sense of shame, even if we feel confident in our decision to not go to college, not have children, or whatever it is that isn’t the norm of societal standards. Sometimes it can be very insidious and lurking from under the surface of our awareness, and it makes us hide. It makes us not be willing to be visible and stand out with our gifts and share ourselves, which of course blocks our freedom tremendously.
When we’re stuck in a place of shame, it can also make us feel very victim-like. We start to feel resigned. We think, “I can’t fight the standards of society so why bother?” We can go to a place of, “I’ll never measure up. There’s nothing I can do to make anything different.” Then we start to feel a sense of overwhelm and wonder if we can ever get out of it.
When we are in a space of victimhood and overwhelm, usually we’re not connected to our values.
Your value as a woman has nothing to do with raising a family unless it’s important to you personally. If you’re connected to the values you have, and you realize that your true value to live your life on purpose and with meaning doesn’t involve raising children, then when someone questions you, you’ll simply say, “That’s not my path. I have this path in mind. This is what I value more. I love kids and I’m fine with anybody else who wants to have a family. But that’s not for me.”
When you’re connected to your unique values, when you really know what you value and you have a connection to a sense of purpose, reconnecting to a deeper place within yourself, that will help you mitigate the sense of shame.
Solitude Blocks Your Freedom
A third thing that often blocks us from our freedom is solitude.
Solitude can be amazing in and of itself. We need quiet time. I’m an advocate of more solitude because everything is so noisy and so busy. At the same time, and this can especially be true for introverts, we can be too isolated.
We can set ourselves apart too often and not reach out to others. We start losing the capacity to ask for help or even believe that we can ask for help. We also lose a sense of connection to society on the whole, or to our community. We start to feel a lack of belonging.
When we’re living in isolation, or existing in too much solitude, then we may not be connected to what’s happening in the world. Therefore, it makes it harder for us to connect with others. It makes it harder for us to have dreams and visions and goals.
We get stuck in a place of being in our own little bubble that we’re not breaking out of, and pretty soon we start to feel anxiety. We start to feel a sense of depression, largely because we don’t belong. One of the biggest reasons for addictive behaviors is a lack of belonging and connection.
Again in reference to the diagram with the three circles, Remembering helps us to move beyond scarcity. Reconnecting helps us to move beyond shame. Then we have Re-envisioning or being able to re-envision your life.
What do you want it to look like? What community, what special people, what confidants and collaborators are going to be in your life, being able to have a dream, a vision, a sense of place, and a sense of belonging for yourself?
When we move beyond scarcity, we feel a sense of abundance. When we move beyond the concept of shame, we begin to feel a sense of acceptance.
“It’s okay if I don’t want to do this or that which society wants me to do.”
When we move beyond solitude, we come to a place of deep awareness. We’re aware of where we belong. We’re aware of what’s going on around us. We’re not isolated in our bubble.
Having a sense of beautiful abundance, acceptance and awareness is what’s going to move us toward a place of rebirthing ourselves.
Birthing, reinventing and moving ourselves toward the kind of life filled with the freedom we long for, we’ll start having all of those things come together and create the freedom we want. A life filled with abundance, acceptance, awareness, and the capacity to create in freedom the way we’re here to do so.
If you’re feeling trapped in your life, I hope these three blocks that keep us feeling trapped offer some new perspectives. Be sure to check out my Solace program, which takes you on a journey through these stages of Remembering, Reconnecting, Re-Envisioning and Rebirthing.
What in your life makes you feel trapped? Please let me know in the comments, and share this article with others feeling trapped.
For a video version of 3 Things That Are Keeping You From Being Free, watch here: