28 January 2014
When one thinks of examples of freedom, the examples are often on a large scale. The French Revolution, the abolishment of slavery, and women’s suffrage are all examples of freedom, or the obtainment of it. However, freedom comes in all shapes and sizes. And it is not just the possession of basic human rights. No, freedom scales right down from a population to one individual; personal freedom. An individual with personal freedom is not encaged by the standards of society nor the judgment of others. Someone with personal freedom can live their life to the fullest, because they accept themselves wholly. Until one can do this, is one truly, completely free? If one is constantly wanting material items, needing more and more wealth, are they free? Honestly, it would not seem so.
This idea of personal freedom has been formed by one very important person in my life; my mother. My mother worked as a lawyer for many years. She made good money and my family lived a very comfortable life in a big house. However a severe back disability that came out of nowhere. She was not able to stand in the courts for cases anymore. She had a hard time walking and typing. This put her out of work permanently. Our families income dropped, we moved to a small apartment to make ends meet, for we couldn’t afford a large house anymore. The process of filing for disability support from the government was a long and hard one. Judges denied her file for disability checks because she “looked completely healthy”. She was even suspected of disability fraud. In one of her disability hearings, she broke down, sobbing, because of how much her life had changed because of this one factor.
After going through the filing process and court cases for a few years, she was finally granted disability support from the government. She had to make ends meet with the monthly checks she received. This was so frightening to her, because she could no longer rely on herself to support our family. Her prestigious job had been snatched away from her. A job she earned through years of law school and extremely hard work. She realized that her law degree, her job title had been everything that defined her. It was how she (and others) measured her worth and it was all gone. For a few years, she didn’t know what to do with herself. She stayed at home, lying in bed, wishing everything could go back to the way it was.
After years of wishing and hoping she would wake up one day cured, she finally accepted her disability. She missed the days where she was just as healthy and able-bodied as the next person, but those days were behind her. She devoted herself to a program in which she helped others get through difficult times in their lives. That same program helped her too, changing her outlook on life, seeing each day as an opportunity to do something great, no matter how small. She realized that she never really wanted to be a lawyer. She was pressured into a high end job by her parents and peers. She was more worried about her money than her happiness. Now, has unearthed a true passion for writing. She is even in the process of writing her own book! She is the most joyful person I have ever known. Her radical acceptance of life on life’s terms has freed her soul! She is not weighed down by things that are glorified as important in society. Through her, I’ve seen that there is so much more to life than education, jobs, and money. Even with her disability, she makes the most out of each day. In fact, in losing everything she had, she gained so much! Often the people that have had a lot of trials in their life are the most knowledgeable, and I have learned so much from my mother.
Personal freedom is one of the most important factors of life. It’s the ability to live one’s life to the fullest without being held back by other’s standards or judgments. The acceptance of oneself opens the doors of joyful living.