Monday, March 29, 2010

Liberty

One of the themes we celebrate in the festival of Passover is liberty. The traditional story tells of liberation from slavery, but there are many lessons to be learned for everyone, even those who consider themselves free.

Liberty is the sort of concept that is extrinsic, meaning that it relies on something else. The person who is free is always free from something. In this respect, it is a less purely positive concept than something like fulfilment or achievement. 

Among the things we may still have to liberate ourselves from: our own fears, and other people's expectations. When we can do what we choose without holding ourselves back and without worrying about other people's reactions, we are truly free.

One of the most liberating experiences I have had was deciding to change my personality. I used to be shy and introverted. When I was asked to teach in a translation course, my first reaction was fear. But I decided to face and overcome that fear. I taught that class for 18 months, and gradually became less inhibited. I learned to think about what I wanted to get across rather than about my fears and the reactions of the listeners. This was ten years ago, and since then I have continued developing my public speaking skills. I learned the important lesson that I can decide what to be, and I am free to make choices, even about basic aspects of my own personality.

A good way to find things worth liberating yourself from is to listen to the reasons you give yourself not to do things. When you identify things that scare you, or hear yourself using other people's opinions as a reason to refrain, this is an opportunity to think further. Is this something you really want to do? Would it be worth changing yourself in order to achieve it? Do the opinions of others really matter so much?

I wish everyone fulfilling experiences of self-liberation!

1 comment:

惠蘋 said...

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