Mental freedom is simply detaching from external labels, judgments, or expectations and making choices that truly align with who you are and what you want. It’s silencing the noise of those around you as you listen to your own voice and act according to your own ideals.
The need to be constantly liked or validated by others can push us to do things we don’t want or don’t believe in just to please people or avoid being negatively judged by them. That’s why we don’t always speak our minds, because we don’t want to upset anyone or we don’t want to show that we’re vulnerable or in disagreement with what they’re saying. We sweep our emotions under the rug and end up feeling frustrated because we are making decisions to make others happy at the expense of our own. It makes us feel mentally conflicted between what we truly want and how we want to be perceived.
But I’ve learned that the worst prison you can get locked up in is the fear of being judged or disliked by others, because it will simply control your life and define what you do and what you say. So if you want to free yourself from this mental prison, then dare to be disliked, judged, or labeled, because the truth is, people will always judge you even when you do everything to please them. People are always judging and labeling each other—it’s an ongoing process, and if you let it affect you, you will constantly inhibit yourself.
The best way to overcome that fear is to simply stop judging yourself, because what you resist persists and you tend to always invite the judgments that you fear the most. The ones that you sometimes believe to be true about yourself, in other words, what you criticize in yourself is what others will criticize you for. You’re afraid that people may think you’re not good enough or not smart enough. You’re afraid people will think you are a failure or you’re always messing things up. You’re afraid that they may not think highly of you because you chose a different path or a different career or a different lifestyle.
That’s why it’s crucial to your well-being to practice self-love and compassion in those moments of doubt, confusion, or failure instead of chasing the approval of others, because needing their validation will never make you feel fulfilled or confident. If you want to truly liberate yourself, let people judge you as much as they want; allow yourself to live by your own rules, because you can’t control what they think and you can’t stop anyone from judging you. You can only stop them from impacting your decisions or allowing them to disrupt your plans by trying to prove them wrong.
In every step of your journey, you will always have yourself. You won’t have all the answers and you will not do everything right, but as long as you’re not crippled by anyone or limited by what someone else thinks of you, you will eventually find your way. The road to mental freedom begins with you leading the way and following your own navigation. Don’t worry about getting lost every now and then, worry about asking for directions that lead to nowhere.