I recently posted an article at womensmemoirs.com about journaling on the concepts of freedom, peace, and happiness. Since then, I’ve continued to think about the topic: what freedom has meant to me in the past and what it means to me now; how my desire for freedom has, in many ways, shaped my desires and many of my decisions; and how it may influence my future.
Before we get into this week’s journaling prompts, let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of freedom as excerpted from dictionary.com (I’ve included only those definitions that refer to personal freedom):
- the state of being at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint;
- exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.;
- exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear;
- the absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.;
- ease or facility of movement or action;
- the right to enjoy all the privileges or special rights of citizenship, membership, etc., in a community or the like;
- the right to frequent, enjoy, or use at will;
- the power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without; autonomy; self-determination.
As you can see, personal freedom is a many-faceted concept we can explore from different points of view.
This week’s journaling prompts are designed to help you delve more deeply into your understanding of personal freedom and its influence in your life.
- Write about a past moment in your life when you felt most free. What was it about that event/time/activity that gave you such a sense of freedom? What were its qualities? What were you free from, and what were you free to do?
- Thinking about that past moment of freedom, how do you experience (or not experience) that freedom in your life now?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is completely constrained and 10 is completely free, where do you place yourself today? Write about the reasons you place yourself in that part of the scale.
- List the qualities of freedom you wrote about in #1 (feel free to add to that list) and prioritize them. Which qualities are most important to you? For example, if my list includes autonomy (not having to answer to anyone else), freedom of movement, and freedom from worry, I might place autonomy first, freedom of movement second, and freedom from worry third.
- Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt constrained, trapped, or imprisoned in some way? Freewrite about that time and how it affected (and/or continues to affect) your subsequent life decisions.
- Do you believe that freedom is given to you by others, or made by you? Explain.
- Finally, how important is freedom to you today? What do you give up for personal freedom, if anything (security, safety, relationships, etc.)? And, what do you think has most influenced your attitudes and beliefs regarding personal freedom?
Can you think of some other ways to write about freedom? We’d love to hear from you — please leave a comment.