September 6

The best way to be more
free is to grant more
freedom to others.

Carlo Dossi


Today's Meditation:

I knew some parents once who were so afraid that their teenage daughter was going to get into trouble that they micro-managed her life, allowing her virtually no freedom at all.  They gave her rides to everything and picked her up, they didn't allow her to stay over at friends' house, the whole deal.  The girl was miserable, and needless to say, the parents were pretty miserable, too.  It got to be so stressful when the daughter finally rebelled that the parents just threw up their hands and said "Fine, do what you want."

The parents were amazed--and quite humbled--when it turned out that their daughter was a pretty responsible young lady.  She made a few mistakes, but none that were drastic.  The parents learned that when they gave her the freedom to be who she was, they no longer had to try to mold her into who they thought she would be, and their lives became much, much easier.  We see the same things in relationships between spouses, lovers, siblings, and friends--try to control the other person's behaviors and actions and thoughts and reactions, and you're only setting yourself up for misery.

If I want to be truly free, I have to let others be free to be who they are and do what they want.  When I try to control others, I suffer just as much as they do.  I see this often in my classroom--when I'm able to let the students be because they're behaving well, my stress level is very low.  When someone starts acting up, though, my stress level rises because I now have to take away another person's freedom because they're abusing their freedom in an inappropriate situation.

If you want to be truly free, then let others be free.  Otherwise, freedom is just a word or a dream, but not a true experience.

Questions to consider:

In what ways do we try to control the actions and thoughts of others? 

How are we able to "grant more freedom to others"?

Why do so many people insist on trying to control others, even after they realize that they're making themselves miserable by trying?

For further thought:

Anything you strive to hold captive will hold
you captive, and if you desire freedom
you must give freedom.

Peace Pilgrim

More on freedom.


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