Are You Stuck in Freedom?

I was talking to a man who described his terrific new full-time job very apologetically. “I know I gave up the freedom of being an entrepreneur, but this is good for me and my family. I’m not my own boss, but I feel more relaxed, with the health insurance and not having to scramble for work.”

It was good work. Work that he excels at. Work that enables him to do his art in his spare time. I felt compelled to validate him.

“I know you say you ‘gave up’ freedom, but it sounds like you got a lot more of it.”

“Yeah,” he said reflectively, “I guess you’re right.”

Think back to the first time you felt really free. Maybe it was on a vacation, backpacking by yourself through some new and exotic land. Maybe it was the first time you realized your parents had no control over you and you defied their will. Maybe it was finally quitting. Maybe it was allowing yourself to truly enjoy something that was previously forbidden. Perhaps it was a moment in meditation, when you transcended your monkey mind.

Whatever it was, it’s possible that this experience has become the ultimate cornerstone of freedom for you. It is a definition you will live by and fight for, but sometimes, to your very own disadvantage.

For example, I meet men who are lonely. But when faced with the opportunity to love, they cannot tolerate what they perceive as the loss of freedom that a serious relationship poses. Their definition of freedom has not evolved from the carefree state of bachelor, and they believe that another person’s needs and desires can limit them. Their hearts are enslaved not by others, but by their younger notions of freedom.

Similarly, I’ve heard women complain that motherhood has cost them their freedom. Certainly, life changes include the very real loss of certain liberties. As a mother you have to put another being’s need before yours. That obviously cramps a carefree style. And it poses a huge threat to the identity of someone who can do what she wants when she wants to.

But I believe freedom evolves. At one point in your life it means one thing, and at another point it means another thing.

I’m not convinced you can’t be a mother and be free, if you can allow your definition of freedom to change.

Slavery, feminism, same sex marriage . . .  freedom evolves.

Here are some questions I’m pondering. On this Independence Day, I invite you to join in and reflect in the comments section.

What does freedom look like when we are leading a team, a project, a family? Share on X How can connection and freedom co-exist? Share on X What REALLY threatens our independence? Share on X

Happy Fourth of July! May it be for you and yours, a true celebration of freedom.

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14 responses to “Are You Stuck in Freedom?”

  1. Jon Mertz says:


    I agree. Freedom does evolve because our responsibilities evolve. Linked to freedom is responsibility; they go hand-in-hand, enabling each other. At times, our responsibilities call us to do certain things because they may be preparing someone else for a “free” life or enabling us to have more “freedom” in other pursuits. There is an ebb and flow between freedom and responsibility, and this is what makes it all work.

    Great points. Thanks!


    • Blair Glaser says:

      Dear Jon,
      Great points — freedom is linked to responsibility. I would love to hear more about your thoughts on the ebb and flow between the two. Another correlation that peaks my interest is the one between freedom and power.
      I so appreciate you stopping by with your wisdom, Jon!

  2. Lise says:

    This is a great post, Blair and something I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this morning.

    • Blair Glaser says:

      Thanks so much for sharing that. We could have some interesting convo about the different definitions we have passed and are passing through!

  3. Blair, thanks for a great post. I’m grateful that our choices matter. We’re not really free to do things unless those actions matter. So I’m often constrained by my own prior choices. Every choice I make limits me in some way. When I honor those choices, I make them count. In order to make the most of my freedom, I need to make my choices count by sticking with them.

    Thanks again for making me think. Much appreciated. Mike…

    • Blair Glaser says:

      ” I’m often constrained by my own prior choices.” Who doesn’t relate to that?! Thanks for your generous and insightful comments, Mike! You inspired me to think, too.

  4. sarah says:

    “Freedom? Oh, freedom…that’s just some people talkin. Your prison is walking through this world all alone.”
    The Eagles

  5. Samantha says:

    GREAT post Blair! I can’t believe I missed this one! (saw the link to it in Kate’s latest post announcing the upcoming Twitter chat!)

    For me, freedom has to do with the freedom to choose. Example: recently Alli Polin wrote about the Mommy wars. I left a comment about my experiences with having to choose between being ‘here’ for my children after my husband died, or having them raise themselves at times if I worked outside of the home.

    For me, freedom is about HAVING the luxury and freedom to choose. Fortunately, I COULD be home with my children because I found a way to do so. Had I not had the CHOICE, I would have felt LESS free and unhappy over not being able to be here for my children.

    It’s interesting how each of us define freedom. It’s definitely not the same for everyone. Freedom is closely tied to our individual values. Some, as you touch on in your post, may be unconscious. As in the case of the lonely bachelor who still hasn’t settled down because their ideas of freedom haven’t evolved. Mostly living out unconscious values.

    Thanks for sharing such a great post!

    • Blair Glaser says:

      So true, Samantha!
      Thanks for generously sharing your story in the comments section. I love your definition and resonate: Freedom is about having the ability to choose. Alli Polin is a great champion of choice and giving people permission to choose what makes them feel empowered and free.
      I so appreciate your input and loved your presence in the #peopleskills tweetchat. It really seems like a topic you were born to lead in: As I saw someone tweeted out to you, “You’re on fire today!”

  6. […] Are You Stuck in Freedom? […]

  7. […] life, we make decisions based on where we are at a given time. When I was younger – even when I first got married to my wife – living on a boat may […]

  8. Danny Brown says:

    Excellent post, miss, and full of great questions.

    For me, I thought freedom was moving out of my parents’ house when I was 19 – until the bills hit.

    I also thought I was free from commuting until the reality of having to provide for your family hit, and I (much like your friend) re-entered the corporate world.

    But instead of feeling stifled, it’s allowed me the freedom to be with my family, sitting on the back deck of a family home that is just right for us.

    Freedom. Such a contrasting word, and perfectly illustrated here.

    Thank you for this.

    • Blair Glaser says:

      Thanks for commenting here, and for illustrating how your willingness and ability to allow your definition of freedom to change has led you to a wide variety of life experiences — ones that are filled with opportunity, meaning, connection and an ebullient maturity.

      And thanks for the pingback on your great and related post.
      Boy, am I glad I don’t have a boat. 🙂

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