What is Freedom?


In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was credited for freeing slaves however, I have always wondered how can a man’s signature really grant someone freedom. Over the years I have witnessed many people limit their freedom by restricting themselves from exploring life because of fear, coercion, and retaliation. I have seen employees act as slaves to a Presidents or Chief Executive Officers because of their so-called positional power.

Why do so many people allow themselves to become slaves especailly, when they have been warned? The great, Marcus Garvey declared, “No portion of humanity, no group of humanity, has an abiding right, an everlasting right, an eternal right to oppress other sections or portions of humanity.” Actress, Lala Anthony asserts freedom is when you are free spirited. It is when you know who you are and why you’re here and why you do what you do. It is your ability to think and act on your own accord. Unfortunately, to many people relinquish such freedom because they are concerned about how other people are going to respond to their behavior. For this reason, the great Carter G. Woodson stated:

When you control a man’s thinking you don't have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

Sadly, Dr. Woodson’s statement remains true because people are so scared to be free. For example, I have witnessed employees not use their vacation because their supervisor told them there are blackout periods at work (which is not documented anywhere). I have seen people change their attitudes, speech, and dress when they were informed a supervisor was coming to visit.

Granted, you should be professional at all times but to actually change who you are because of another human being is around, is something else. I know there are those people who believe this type of behavior is considered playing office politics but consider this; if you are running for office and not being authentic then you are a lying to the people and eventually you will be exposed as a fraud. In other words, you may gain a position but you will not have the respect of the people you are supposed to serve, which will make your purpose pointless.

So, in order to have freedom I suggest you reprioritize your life by writing down on paper the most important things in your life. Then write down next to them how many times you have devoted yourself to these things. Depending on your results, you will know what you need to priorities. Conducting this exercise will help you see thing much clearer and allow you to choose what you want to improve in your life because true freedom is the power of choice.

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